By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A metro high school is quickly moving to the top of its class. Harding Charter Preparatory was recently recognized by Newsweek as one of the top high schools in America.

The school has reached another big accomplishment. The students who walk the halls of Harding Charter Prep high school are making strides in their education. The inner-city public school ranks 3rd in the state in its Academic Performance Index test scores.

"It says a lot for my teachers," said Principal Richard Caram. "It says a lot for my students that work hard."

A large number of these students will be the first in their families to graduate from high school.

"I will be the first one and being the first one, you're clueless about what college is and what you need to do to get there," student Sara Perez said.

The mission of the school is to prepare students for college and beyond. Perez admits, the work load is challenging.

"It takes hard work to get somewhere in life," Perez said.

But it's the tough curriculum that draws students like Perez to transfer from other public high schools.

"They expect a lot of themselves," said Caram. "The parents expect a lot and when we see high expectations, the children just rise to the occasion."

The number on the rise is the amount of Harding seniors reaching their dreams.

Last year, 80 percent of the graduating seniors went on to a four-year college. Lauren Smith's sister was in that class and now she's right behind her.

"My mom's really proud and so is my dad," Smith said.