Harper High School students head to the White House - FOX 32 News Chicago

Harper High School students head to the White House

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Students from one of Chicago's most violence-plagued high schools, Harper High School, began their journey to the White House Tuesday morning.

First Lady Michelle Obama personally invited these kids to visit Washington, to tour the White House, the Smithsonian and other historic D.C. landmarks.

About 26 high school students loaded their luggage onto a chartered bus Tuesday. For some of them, this trip – getting out of Chicago, if only for a limited time – may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Some parents said their kids haven't been beyond 95th Street their entire lives.

Harper students have to walk by vacant buildings, abandoned parking lots - and on Tuesday, wild dogs - in their neighborhood every day. It's also one of the most violence areas of the city.

One student told FOX 32 that when you see what you see every day in Englewood it really does something to a person's mind set.

"I know for a fact it brings you down just knowing this is the area I live in," he said. "Even in the same city, there are better neighborhoods and better schools. When you're seeing this every day it can make you do some of the worst things possible. If you ain't got that support anything can happen to you."

Mayor Emanuel reached out to donors to make this trip possible. Their private donations made this trip possible.

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