BOSTON (CBS) – Thirty-four valedictorians from Boston Public Schools were honored at an annual luncheon at the Boston Harbor Hotel on Tuesday.

Mayor Thomas Menino, Boston School Committee Chair Rev. Dr. Gregory G. Groover, Sr., Superintendent Carol Johnson, as well as many of the students’ family members and teachers were at the event.

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WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

“These students serve as an inspiration to us all,” said Rev. Groover. “We are proud of their achievements and salute the adults that supported them to make it a reality.”

The high school seniors hailed from different neighborhoods across the city of Boston. Many of them have conquered poverty hardships and language barriers throughout their grade school years in order to finish high school at the head of their class.

The diversity of this group of valedictorians makes them unique. Fifteen of the students were born outside of the United States, hailing from countries as diverse as Albania, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Morocco, Nigeria, and Malaysia.

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Student speaker, Kisaira Cabrera, who is also the valedictorian of Boston International High School, shared her inspirational journey from the Dominican Republic to Boston. Three short years ago she arrived in Boston and did not speak any English. Now she is planning to attend Regis College in the fall.

“There are great things happening in the Boston Public Schools and these students are fine examples of that,” said Mayor Menino. “Each year I grow even more impressed by this elite group of students. These students have great potential and are proud examples of the best Boston has to offer.”

Not only have these students finished at the top of their class, but they are also moving on to some of the nation’s top colleges and universities, including Harvard University, Holy Cross, Smith College and Boston University.

“These students are helping to set the record straight,” said Dr. Johnson. “There are those that will say urban public education doesn’t, and can’t, work. These students shatter that perception and will proudly demonstrate that to the world with every step they take from this day forward.”

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Reebok International and Simmons College were the two main sponsors for this event, and each valedictorian received a Reebok backpack, a leather portfolio and a $50 Reebok gift card.