GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (GRPS) – Fifty-five seniors are prepared to make history as the first graduates from Southwest Middle High School Academia Bilingüe.

“Having this school here in our community I think has been a dream of the community for a long time,” said Southwest Middle High School Principal Julian Ramirez Torres.

The new building along U.S. 131 opened for scholars in January 2021 with 7th through 9th grades. Each year the trailblazing Class of 2024 has ushered in a new grade level.

“We all grew up together and we've all come up together in such a tight form,” said Solei, a senior at Southwest.

“They've known that they're going to be the first graduating class since they were 8th-grade students when we brought them over to sign the beam here in this building,” Principal Ramirez Torres explained.

Scholars at Southwest Middle High rotate between classes that are taught in Spanish and English.

“You get a taste of kind of both of the ways you live your life,” said Joshua, a senior at Southwest.

“Being bilingual is just something so simple for us,” said Jovanny, a senior at Southwest. “But out in the real world is something that is really needed.”

All graduating seniors have earned a seal of biliteracy from the State of Michigan Education Department.

“Coming out with a biliteracy certificate on my diploma is going to open up so many doors for me,” Solei said. “I’m very proud of every single student that is graduating this year.”

Graduation is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21, at 5 p.m. at Houseman Field.

“It’s going to be very exciting, very emotional,” Solei said. “This first graduating class is us changing the future of this school, of this community.”