By Pat Gallen

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Cristo Rey High School in North Philadelphia bangs a gong every time a major goal is achieved by a student.

And in June, major goals will be met as the first-ever graduating class will walk. But before that happens, their students must first learn how to swim.

Cristo Rey has teamed up with St. Joes Prep and head swim coach Kelley Voss to make sure that each student can get over an extremely difficult obstacle.

The program is designed to help kids who have little-to-no access to swimming instruction, and therefore are much more prone to drowning.

“These kids came in and they were extremely nervous to get in the water,” noted Voss. “A lot of them had never even been by a pool before.”

But Cristo Rey is changing that one child at a time.

Each student is required to take a swim test and pass before they can move on.

But now, nearly all of the 85 senior students are able to at least tread water, if not more.

“The first time I swam from one end of the pool to the other end, I felt like I could just pick up the world,” said Cristo Rey senior, Moses Kuderha.