(WMC-TV) – The senior class of Soulsville Charter School is graduating Thursday night and every single student wearing a cap and gown is heading to college in the fall.
Not only have all of the students at Soulsville been accepted to college, but many of them have a full ride with scholarships totaling more than $3.2 million.
Thursday morning, the class of students making Soulsville history rehearsed for their graduation ceremony.
With more than $100,000 in scholarships, Jamel Best says it was never a competition, but instead, a collective effort.
"'Oh, I'm going to study all night so I can do better than you', No, it's a 'I'll call you after school so I can help you with this,'" Best explained.
Seniors at Soulsville say they have great memories from the music to academic excellence, but the thing they will miss the most is the bond that they now share.
"I'm going to miss the togetherness, the teachers are really there for us. If you need anything, the teachers are there to pick up the slack," said senior Kiffany Williamson.
"Add that to the bond that the seniors and the faculty share, that's the dream right there," said Best.
Baye Slappy says Soulsville's performing arts programs are synonymous with hope.
"Music not only changed my life, but it saved my life," said Slappy.
With the odds against him, he turned his passion into positivity.
"Music is a way out of the situation that you're in because every corner that I turned was a dead end saying 'You're not going to be anything in life'" he said.
And with the motto "We rise against ordinary expectations", the Soulsville seniors say there is no turning back.
"Here is working hard but I know when you get to college you have to work even harder and I don't plan to stop," said Slappy.
The Soulsville Charter School graduation takes is Thursday at 6 p.m. Among those planning to attend is the school's Grammy award-winning visionary, Kirk Whalum.