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Englewood Charter School's First Senior Class To Graduate Monday


CHICAGO (CBS) -- Next Monday is a big day for a charter school in the Englewood neighborhood. Johnson College Prep High School's first graduation will be staged at the Field Museum.

Dean of students Jillian Carew said Monday's graduation started four years ago with great expectations for the first class of students at the Noble charter school network high school.

"They're champions to get up every day and come every day in spite of their circumstances really speaks volumes to their character and their desire to be successful," Carew said of the students.

Aaris Walton is heading for the University of Michigan on a full scholarship, and plans to study literature and creative writing.

"Growing up all around the South Side of Chicago gives you more of a motivation to not want to be here for the rest of your life," she said.

Walton said she'd like to one day run a magazine.

Like Walton, Markel Thomas has had to overcome growing up poor, but he's turned it into a positive.

"There's also an element of not always having enough. That's very depressing but I try to make it my motivation," he said.

Thomas received a full ride to Amherst College in Massachusetts, where he plans to study astronomy and psychology.

Carew said about 119 young men and women will be graduating from Johnson on Monday.

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