ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Years of hard work are paying off for 469 Rochester City School District seniors. They walked the stage at the Auditorium Theater Wednesday night, celebrating a program that gave them academic support, skills training and work opportunities during school.

The Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection works side-by-side with middle and high school students at risk of dropping out. Its numbers show 66-percent of all students who graduate from the program go on to college.

"I was kind of nervous of it but I didn't know what I was going to do and how I would get through it," said program graduate Eternity Walton. "But I got through it really well and I had a lot of role models. When I needed help, there was always a person I could go to."

The Work-Scholarship program is offered in 43 schools between Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse.