Sammy Nickalls
June 12, 2015 9:20 am

High school graduation is an exciting day! Being together with all of your friends you’ve gone to school with for the past decade, receiving your hard-earned diplomas. . . makes us all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it. But the graduating seniors at Verbum Dei High School had an extra special graduation day this year. Why? Because they had a 100% college acceptance rate. That’s right: every single one of the students was accepted into a four-year college!

The school is a Jesuit all-male college preparatory institution in Los Angeles’s Watts neighborhood, and this year’s class is the seventh in a row to have a 100% acceptance rate. Super amazing, right? The graduating class was 70 strong this year, and they had an average of a 3.8 GPA, reports KTLA. The school is one of 28 nationally where students participate in work study with companies, many of which are Fortune 500 companies.

“You come here with this sense of, ‘I have to achieve the highest I can today,'” graduating senior Zachary Byrge, who was accepted into UCLA, told KTLA. “And all your brothers push you to be the best you can.” This is a huge statement, especially since before Zachary attended Verbum Dei, he says he didn’t see himself living past 25 on the tough streets of his neighborhood.

Juan Perez, Jr. plans to attend St. John’s University in the fall—making him the first in his family to attend college.

“They always tell me every single day — since I’m going to be the first person in my family to be going — they’re extremely proud of me,” he told an ABCNews affiliate.

The students’ acceptance letters from various schools are hung on a wall in the school, and it’s pretty darn impressive to look at. “. . . [The students are] coming in a few years behind, and what these teachers do is amazing,” VP Mission Advancement of the school Paul Hosch explained to KTLA. “. . . and then you walk by that wall, and you have Georgetown, you have UCLA, you have Berkeley.”

When senior Nicholas Spates, who was accepted into Georgetown University, was asked what he was most proud of, he said, “I’m most proud of this being a beacon of hope for my neighborhood, because I am a product of Watts.”

Obviously, these boys have a TON to be proud of. They worked so hard, and now every single one is getting into college—a happy graduation day, indeed! Congratulations, seniors, and we can’t wait to see the amazing things you do!

(Image via)

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