An incredible story out of Englewood that will make you smile: the very first graduating class at Johnson College Prep getting their diplomas.

As CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports, nearly all of the grads have been accepted to college.

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The first graduating class from Johnson College Prep cheered as they took their first steps into their futures as adults.

Among the persistent are Aaris Walton and Kristopher Coachman. Her goal is to become the founder and CEO of her own magazine company; his is to become an electrical engineer.

Both say guidance from staff at their school near 63rd and Stewart, plus strong family support, helped bring them to this moment.

They’ve seen the violence plaguing neighborhood streets and say the struggle to move past it is real.

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“It does influence people and sometimes it influences them to a point where they can’t overcome it. But I’m just happy that I’m able to,” Walton says.

The event may be called commencement, but for these students, it marks a new beginning.

The school is named for the founder of Chicago’s Johnson Publishing Co., John H. Johnson and his wife, Eunice.

Walton heads for the University of Mighigan in the fall. Coachman is off to the University of Virginia.

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