WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to Anacostia High School's graduating class.
The school was once notorious for poor performance and even violence.
"[One student's] oldest brother was killed in an act of gun violence," Mrs. Obama said, "but in the face of tragedy and hardship, he stayed focused. He worked hard, and today... he becomes the first in his family to go to college."
Last year, only half the seniors graduated. This year, nearly 80 percent crossed the stage to receive their diplomas. And most are college-bound.
Recently, Friendship Public Charter began operating the school, managing the staff and the curriculum.
As Anacostia's 158 graduates crossed the stage, their friends and families cheered. They know just how hard this journey has been, and how easy it could have been for these students to quit.
Written by Lindsey Mastis
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com