Batting 100 is a rare feat in any field, let alone in academia. Yet, that is exactly what the entire 2016 graduating class at the Bronx’s Theater Arts Production High School accomplished this year.
All 64 graduates from the public high school in the Bronx’s Tremont section are registered to begin college this fall semester. The students overcame the insurmountable odds, raising themselves up from a crime-ridden and drug-ravaged neighborhood where prison or the morgue is the final destination for many residents.
The graduation rate at local high schools is approximately 60 percent. However, TAPCO, as the school is known by students, has a 77 percent graduation rate throughout its brief eight years in existence, with all 64 of the 2016 graduates registered for college.
“The key to our success is the collective work of our entire school,” said TAPCO’s principal, Ron Link. “It’s the parents, teachers, staff members, all the way down to the cafeteria workers and custodians.”
TAPCO is a specialized school for the performing arts. To qualify, half of the students audition, and the other half are selected by showing an interest in behind the scenes production screenings.
“I like the fact that we all get along,” Angela Reyes, a graduate, told the media. “It’s like family.”
Fellow student Allen Deleon shared similar sentiments. “It’s been a very welcoming experience for me,” he said. “I just love the people and environment. It’s like my second home.”
After four years of diligently dedicating themselves to studying, the 64 graduates were given even more incentive to continue their scholastic journey by being offered $5.5 million in grants and scholarships from an assortment of colleges and universities where they can seek higher learning.
Needless to say, many of their supportive family members, as well as some of the school’s faculty, expressed how proud they are that the youths are now heading to a different world, saying hopefully they will inspire future generations.