Wearing red and gold ties, the seniors at Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men are ready to start the next phase of their lives- college. It's the fourth year in a row the entire senior class has received acceptance letters from universities and colleges.
"I'm planning on attending Morehouse College," Malik Battle, senior, said.
Many of the students come from low-income homes on the city's South Side.
"Our students come from tough family situations and tough neighborhoods and they have made decisions to come to urban prep and to do the right thing from day one all the way through to their senior year," Tim King, founder of Urban Prep academies, said.
Some students say they didn't think they'd ever have this moment.
"I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, at 21st and Prairie, and having a black male teacher in front of me, actually teaching me and knowing the value of education helps me throughout my college years," Fazson Chapman, senior, said.
On Thursday, the seniors were honored by their peers, their parents and even their mayor for getting those gold and red ties, a symbol that the students have all been accepted into college.
"I want everybody in this city, I want everybody in this country, I want everybody around the world to look right up here," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
The students have big future plans, and for Chapman, it includes helping out in their neighborhoods.
"Future goal is to come back to Englewood and provide a boys and girls club for the young men and women in Englewood," he said.
During the ceremony, Urban Prep announced a $150,000 donation from Citi Foundation to support the school's alumni affairs program that helps the 300 former students enrolled in college.
Urban Prep Academies was founded in 2002 by Tim King and a group of African-American leaders who wanted to improve the educational opportunities available to urban boys. In 2005, the nonprofit organization was approved to open Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men - Englewood Campus. Urban Prep now operates three schools in Chicago.