This is the second year in a row for that achievement. Meanwhile, Simone Charlemagne became the first student from MOT Charter School to receive an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Students and staff filled the gym at MOT Charter High School May 9 to celebrate the second year in which every member of the senior class was accepted to college.

During the school assembly, mascot Lightning the Mustang joined the soon-to-be graduates who announced their final decision by wearing apparel from their chosen college.

Head of School Ned Southworth said reaching such a milestone for the second year in a row is a wonderful statement about the culture that has been built in the school.

“Seeing how successful this class has been – in the classroom, on the stage, in the laboratory and out in the community – we simply couldn’t be more proud,” said Southworth. “ They have all worked so hard to get to this moment and I know that everyone at MOT will continue to follow their progress as they each move on to the next phase in their journey. These students are true leaders in thought and action, and they are going to move on and make a positive impact in their community, and in the world.”

The 119 seniors have received acceptances from more than 130 different colleges and universities from all over the United States, including one student who will be attending college 2,885 miles from the MOT campus, beating last year’s “record” by 49 miles.

Simone Charlemagne made school history this year as the first MOT Charter student ever accepted to the United States Military Academy at West Point, while Olivia Duonnolo enlisted in the United States Coast Guard.

Charlemagne said, “During a visit I fell in love with both the program and the way the students are a family, the vibe just felt like something I wanted a part of. I have aspirations to go to medical school and serve as an Army doctor but I’m also passionate about dance and look forward to performing with their dance troupe.”

She said she came home on a mission.

“I was late in the process, and they have a 10% acceptance rate, so while I was confident in my academic record, I changed my diet, started an intensive exercise program and began preparing myself for the physical application requirements,” she said. “The day I received the phone call saying I was accepted I was in shock, the excitement didn’t hit me until several days later.”

Four years of progress

The Class of 2019 started as freshmen the year the high school building opened. With only a few weeks to go before graduation, students have started to reflect on the impact they’ve made, from adding clubs and community involvement, to joining the Diamond State Athletic Conference, and are proud of all they have accomplished.

"I've been here since the beginning and helped cut the ribbon at the opening celebration. We only had the sophomore and freshman classes with desks, chairs, teachers and several empty classrooms the day we started school," said Jarrett DeBenedictis, who will be studying civil engineering at his father’s alma mater, Drexel University. “There was no gym or athletic fields, and while I know there’s more to do, we’ve come so far.”

Dr. John Scali, principal of the Science & Technology Academy, said, “Last year’s inaugural graduating class set the bar high at 100%, and this year’s class was determined to continue the tradition for future years. Many of these students understand how competitive colleges have become and pushed themselves not only academically but by being involved in the school community and through volunteerism.”

One such example is Zachary Zipf who, during his time at MOT, completed his Eagle Scout project and won several awards in competitions including SeaGlide robotics and Science Olympiad. He is going to Purdue University like his great-grandfather. He applied and was accepted to all five of his college choices, including Georgia Institute of Technology and The Ohio State University.

His college decision however was an easy one.

"Purdue has been my goal for years,” Zipf said. “At MOT, I was able to build my education around what interested me and chose to take as many AP level classes as possible to prepare for the rigors of college.”

More college selection stories

In August, Kiran Manisubbu received the first acceptance for the class. He’s headed to University of Iowa’s pre-med program, but most of his classmates are staying on the East Coast at schools such as Duke, Northeastern and Boston University.

Kaitlyn Flowers is one of 43 classmates who will be attending the University of Delaware. She was offered over $325,000 in scholarships and grants across the five schools to which she applied.

“I feel fortunate that our school already has a strong academic program which helped me not only gain acceptance, but offers which made the out-of-state schools financially competitive,” Flowers said.

With a career interest in the medical field, she added, “In the end, Delaware is such a great school and I can save money for my graduate level education, so I’m really excited to become a Blue Hen in the fall.”

Melanie Ramirez, along with 15 others, will attend Delaware Technical Community College as part of the SEED (Student Excellence Equals Degree) Scholarship. The dental hygienist major is looking to use their connect degree program to obtain her associate's degree and then transfer to a four-year degree program as a junior.

"When my family and I started the college process we quickly learned a lot about the student debt crisis," Ramirez said, "I didn’t want to jeopardize my financial future when I have the ability to get a solid education for less money."

Jessica Tucker will be attending Moore College of Art & Design, while her twin brother John heads to University of Delaware. It will be the first time since kindergarten the two will attend different schools.

"We've shared so many experiences and friendships, but it’s exciting to know we’re off to pursue our own passions," she said.

For more information about MOT Charter School, call 302-696-2000 or visit