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Minneapolis school celebrates perfect graduation rate, acceptance into college

May 08, 2019 07:10 PM

One local school is looking forward to graduation with pride knowing all of its seniors will be graduating with the option to continue their education.

In 2018, the state's overall graduation rate was 83.2 percent, and Minneapolis Public Schools graduation rate was 69.2 percent. Hiawatha Academies says 100 percent of the students in its Class of 2019 have been admitted to college. That's 73 seniors.

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It's extra special for the school because it's Hiawatha Collegiate High School's first graduating class of seniors.

"Not a lot of people can say 100 percent of their class is going to college, that is a big accomplishment for me and I feel like that is a big accomplishment for all the seniors here," said Desiree Schiff, who will attend Minnesota State University-Mankato this fall. 

Minnesota graduation rates continue to rise, even if gaps still persist

Among Hiawatha Academies students, 99 percent identify as students of color, and nearly all will be the first in their family to attend college, the school said.

"I feel really lucky going to college, as a first generation accepted and going to college, I feel really lucky to have this school suport me and help me on my path," said Sauly Gonzalez, who will attend Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.

Hiawatha Academies says over half of its senior class has been admitted to three or more colleges.

Heidi Sanchez will attend the University of St. Thomas and said all of her schooling is paid for through scholarships.

"I do think there is a level of, I feel ready for college because of all the stuff I have done here (in high school), I am definitely looking forward to seeing the differences between here and college," Sanchez said.

Principal Nicole Cooley says Hiawatha Collegiate High School stands out due to its belief in every student.

"I think that belief, that persistent belief that we have in all kids, but then the tacticle part is the high expectations that we hold and the high support that we hold," Cooley said.

Every high schooler starts and ends their day with a teacher advisor at Hiawatha Collegiate High School.

Students have a slightly longer school day, and every student is required to take an advanced placement class.

"Our belief is that if you offer the right supports, and then believe in what's possible, you can do something different, and so that's what we are trying to doing," Cooley added.

Data from the Minnesota Department of Education says the graduation rate for minorities in the state still lagged behind that of white students. According to that data, the graduation rate for white students in Minnesota was 88.4 percent. The graduation rate for African-American students was 67.4 percent, for Hispanic students was 66.8 percent, and for Native American students was 51 percent.

Hiawatha Collegiate High Schools students will hold a celebration with family, community and classmates on Friday, May 17th at the University of Minnesota, announcing their college choice.

"Our kids are impressive, and they are starting to realize they are impressive, and so we are incredibly proud of them," Cooley said.

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