ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM)– In Arlington County, dozens of low-income students are heading to college thanks to a program called the AHC college and career readiness program.

This year, AHC Inc. Is celebrating the graduation of 24 high school seniors. All are first-generation students living in AHC affordable apartment communities in Arlington, Virginia. The program is one of four educational programs available to families living on AHC properties.

“I feel like a pioneer of some sense in my family. At times I felt like I was all alone and I was the first one piercing through the veil of applying but it’s been such a learning experience and I’m glad i’m also able to set an example for my sibling because if I’m able to do it it paves a way for them too,” said Roger Mensah-Cooley.

Mensah-Cooley is getting ready for his first year at George Mason University as a mechanical engineering major. He’s one of 24 first generation college students to complete the AHC college and career readiness program this school year.

“My parents…they don’t know so much about the college applying process here in america although my mom did attend a 2-year university here,” Mensah-Cooley said.

He credits much of his success to the educational programs at AHC Inc.

“It’s wrap around services everything from scholarship application to FAFSA application to the college application itself,” said Joshua Kearns, Cooley’s mentor.

Kearns started working with Mensah-Cooley in the 6th grade.

“He inspires me everyday through the transformation he’s had. He’s had to go through life struggles that i couldn’t even imagine,” Kearns said.

Together, the 2019 grads have earned approximately $600,000 in scholarships and aid.