'Windy City Weekend' celebrates class of 2024, 15-year-old Indiana University Northwest grad

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, May 31, 2024
'Windy City Weekend' celebrates 2024 graduates with graduation special
Val and Ryan shared their graduation pictures and biggest regrets from their time in college.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- This week on "Windy City Weekend," Val and Ryan congratulated the graduating class of 2024. What better way to honor them than by having an audience full of grads?

During the 2020 COVID pandemic, many of these graduates missed high school senior proms and graduations, only to then transition into online or hybrid college learning. Now, we are acknowledging their achievements and perseverance these past four years.

Khaya Njumbe, 15-year-old college graduate

Khaya Njumbe is making history as one of the youngest college graduates after completing high school and college at the same time.

Do you remember what you were doing at 15? There is a chance you weren't graduating from college.

Khaya Njumbe is making history as one of the youngest college graduates ever. The teen from Gary, Indiana graduated from Indiana University Northwest with a degree in general studies, and dreams of becoming a doctor. He began taking dual-credit college classes at 11 years old while in high school.

Val and Ryan got the chance to sit down with the young prodigy and learn what the future holds for him.

Loyola University's CARE Pathway program

The CARE Pathway program allows nursing students of color to recieve a stipend to help cover expenses while completing school.

The pandemic highlighted how deeply we rely on our healthcare providers. In 2021, Loyola University's nursing school created the CARE Pathway program to diversify the Chicago nursing field to better reflect its diverse communities.

Many nursing students are out on their own, dealing with continuing their medical education while also paying for rent, bills, groceries and more. Loyola began offering qualifying students a $9,000 per year stipend.

We traveled to the Loyola campus to hear from some of the graduates of this program, and how it gave them the opportunity to finish their degrees.

Larry's Barber College

Larry Roberts Jr. and one of his star students, Damien Davis, joined "WCW" to discuss the impact Larry's Barber College has on graduates.

Not every graduate this year had the desire, or means, to attend a traditional four-year college, but that didn't stop them from pursuing a higher education through learning a craft. That's where Larry's Barber College comes in.

Larry Roberts Jr. has been teaching the future generation of barbers for more than 20 years and recognizes the importance of this growing industry.

He knows the impact that learning the skill can have on his students, as he has been teaching classes at Cook County Jail for 15 years.

He and one of his star graduates, Damien Davis, joined Val and Ryan to talk about the program's benefits.

Val and Ryan give a final congratuations to the 2024 graduates in the audience.