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College-Bound North Texas Teens Defy Odds & Promise Even More

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Students celebrate during their graduation ceremony. (credit: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP/Getty Images)

Students celebrate during their graduation ceremony. (credit: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP/Getty Images)

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Hundreds of North Texas high school students recently celebrated a major achievement — getting accepted into college.

During a ceremony at Southern Methodist University, some 200 high school students not only declared where they were going to college, but also made a commitment to graduate.

“I didn’t think that someone of my background could even get into college,” student Consuelo Gutierrez said surprisingly.

Gutierrez never saw college in her future. None of her family or friends in her west Dallas neighborhood had ever graduated.

“People from our neighborhood, you think this is what you do. You graduate from high school, work and help your family,” college bound Gutierrez said of what she once thought was her future.

But the teenager and her fellow graduating seniors are now the picture of success.

Yanadira Mendez-Magana is also headed to college. “I have realized through Uplift Education that an education for someone is to be successful in life.”

All of the graduating seniors at the event attended one of five Uplift Education Charter Schools.

In front of a cheering crowd, filled with parents, teachers and other students, the seniors proudly displayed t-shirts and flags from their future schools.

The Uplift Education Charter Schools target students in low-income neighborhoods and encourage them to succeed through education. Their successful rate isn’t bad — 100 percent of their students are accepted to college.

But the kids know it’s not enough just to get accepted into college, they need to earn their degrees.

Gutierrez said once she graduates she will return to her neighborhood and set an example for others. “I have a younger sister and I want to set a high bar, a high standard for her so that she knows that she can do it.”

Some of the Uplift Education students were accepted into the country’s top universities, like Cornell and Northwestern University.

The students earned a combined total of about $15 million in academic scholarships.

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