By Steve Patterson
CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – A charter school in Camden is celebrating its most accomplished graduating class yet.
All 109 seniors at Camden’s LEAP Academy University Charter are graduating this year, all graduating are going to college and many going to college are getting high-value scholarships to learn.
LEAP Founder Gloria Bonilla-Santiago said the school has enjoyed a 100 percent graduation and college placement rate for a decade but this year is something special.
“It’s not normal for the people in this community because the expectation was cradle to prison. That’s shifted from cradle to college,” she said. “Now that it’s happening, it’s like miracle on Coopers street because people are seeing that their children can make it. So you’re breaking a cycle of poverty, one child at a time.”
This year, the senior class at LEAP sent out more than 5,000 college applications, so far garnering more than $6 million in scholarship attention. Bonilla-Santiago said the reason for the success stems from higher expectations.
Students at LEAP learn for nine-hours a day, 200 days a year for more than 500 scholastic hours.
“Education today, is the civil rights issue of the decade. We must change the way we treat public schools and how do we segregate kids,” Bonilla-Santiago said. “It’s a new voice for Camden. It’s a new generation of people in the city that will be future leaders and that to me is project is about.”