Now, the first class of seniors are in the middle of final exams. Four years of hard work is adding up. In the tough neighborhood where about 40-percent of all students graduate from high school, every single senior at Christ the King is headed to college.
Some seniors are headed out of state. Others are staying around Illinois. All are following their dreams. The Jesuit high school tackled what some had thought was an impossible situation, and turned college into a reality.
"What it tells us is that with hard work and with opportunity and determination great things can happen," Father Christopher Devron, president at Christ the King College Prep, said.
Four years ago, 119 freshmen entered Christ the King, a renovated grade school. The class size has dwindled to 53 since August 2008.
"During these four years I learned that I have the same mental capacity as those who live outside my neighborhood. But I am no lower or no better than anyone else. And I can achieve the same things anyone else can achieve," Danielle Daniel, graduating senior, said.
For the graduates, it has not been just four years of hard work in the classroom. It's also been hard work in business and industry. That's how they help pay their tuition. All of the students work five days a month in local hospitals, banks and law firms. That pays for 75- percent of their tuition. It has all paid off.
Next week, the students graduate and start the next chapter in their lives.