Over the past four years, students in the first graduating class of Southland College Prep Charter High School spent five days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. preparing for the next phase of their lives.
Selected by lottery, Southland College Prep students hail from the south suburban cities of Country Club Hills, Flossmoor, Hazel Crest, Homewood, Matteson, Olympia Fields, Park Forest, Richton Park and Tinley Park.
Though it's the only charter high school in Chicago's suburbs, May's commencement ceremony unveiled some superb success stories.
Among noteworthy achievements, the total amount of scholarship money racked up is quite impressive. And check out the universities some of these standout students will be attending.
On the city's troubled south side, one school in West Englewood had its own success story, proving to be a beacon of opportunity and pride amid relentless gang violence and severe educational barriers.