BOSTON (WHDH) - The first graduating class from Roxbury Prep High School has declared where they’ll be going to college.

Roxbury Prep, founded in 2015 by a small class of ninth graders, slowly added a grade each year, and now those founding freshmen are becoming the first to graduate.

“It’s quite an emotional experience to know the impact they’ve had on us as educators, on their younger brothers and sisters, but ultimately the ability to believe in a future for themselves of their own design,” said Shradha Patel, the school’s founder and principal.

Ninety-seven percent of the graduating class will be going to a four-year college next year.

Nearly all the students are minorities from low-income backgrounds.

School officials say this joyful day is designed not just to celebrate what the seniors have accomplished, but to inspire younger kids to work hard to get to college themselves.

“They know that the high school, Roxbury Prep, can get them somewhere because not everyone’s going to one specific college,” said student Benjamin Obianigwe.

Roxbury Prep is a public charter school with the students chosen through a citywide lottery.

School officials say their curriculum is rigorous with all of their students taking at least one AP exam and 62 percent passing, well above the national average.

Students like Elsa Hishe are thankful for that kind of preparation.

“I took AP macro- and micro-economics, and I got admitted to the Isenberg School of Management (UMass Amherst),” Hishe said. “I want to go into the business field, and those classes really prepared me to go into the management field.”

Now, as she and her peers prepare to tackle life’s next challenge, they’ll have the memories of this raucous rally to carry them through.

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