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Every one of the 190 seniors at Ballou High applied to college this year, a first for the long-struggling public school in a poor neighborhood of Southeast Washington.

Randy Sams, 18, applied to at least 14 colleges and said he has been accepted at 12, including Penn State and Virginia State universities. He’s waiting to hear from his top choice, Temple, a public university in Philadelphia. The deciding factor will be financial aid offers. Sams will be the first in his family to attend college.

Ayanna Rouse, 18, also applied to 14 colleges. She committed to the public Radford University in Virginia. She’ll be the first in her family to attend a four-year university.

Ballou ranks among the city’s lowest-performing high schools on core measures. Its graduation rate last school year, 57 percent, was second-lowest among regular schools in the D.C. Public Schools system, behind Anacostia High’s rate of 42 percent. (That comparison doesn’t include alternative schools.) Last school year, 3 percent of Ballou students tested met reading standards on citywide standardized exams. Almost none met math standards.

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source: Washington Post | Alejandra Matos

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