MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The class of 2019 is soon to receive their diplomas. Some high school seniors are making plans, others are making history and one group of talented students is shattering barriers.

There were cheers and pride as Kamren Anderson crossed the stage. He was one of 75 Hiawatha Collegiate High School students. They were celebrating an academic signing day.

Every single student in the school’s inaugural class was accepted to college. Every single student is a person of color and many are first-generation grads.

“I feel like we are disproportionately represented in college. There’s like not that much diversity in college – 16, 20% – the rest is just white students, so I feel like we are making a bigger impact in that,” said Yoel Flores Espinoza, who will attend UNM Duluth to study engineering.

In a state with one of the lowest graduation rates for students of color, these charter school students got more than 350 offers and $6.5 million in scholarship offers.

“That just means to me that we’re not limited in what we can do. We can do whatever we want.  We just have to put in the time and the effort to get there for where we need to go,” Anderson said.

Anderson is heading straight for an engineering degree at St. Cloud State.

“For me, it was joy and excitement and just a love all over again – seeing Kamren complete his dreams, completing high school on his way to college,” said Natasha Randall, Anderson’s mother.

“We need them, we need them to make our city – our world – a better place. I know that sounds very cliché, but I actually believe it,” said Nicole Cooley, principal.

Hiawatha’s Class of 2019 is 75 scholars with infinite possibilities.

The students are headed to the University of Minnesota, St. Thomas, St. Kate’s, St. Thomas, Hamline and the University of San Francisco – just to name a few.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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