Hillary Clinton spoke at a different kind of fundraiser Friday, appearing in Manhattan to help the Eagle Academy, a consortium of five public schools. But as NY1's Vivian Lee explains, her appearance also had a political component.

Hillary Clinton beamed as students of the Eagle Academy recited, as they do every day in school, the poem "Invictus."

Nelson Mandela famously recited the poem while imprisoned in South Africa, finding inspiration in its message of confronting and overcoming adversity.

Clinton said that message is relevant to students at Eagle Academy, a school she is said to have long championed.

"I want to see Eagle Academies spread across America," the Democratic presidential candidate said Friday.

Clinton headlined a fundraiser for the academy, which is a network of five all-boys schools.

The appearance helped her to showcase, as a presidential candidate, her support of an education reform model showing promise.

The academy schools are public, and the teachers are unionized, but private money helps to pay for longer school days and more intensive instruction.

Most of the students are black and poor, and the graduation rate is 83 percent.

Clinton was also said to have supported the academy's creation, during her time in the Senate.

"It was controversial. It's an all-boys public high school," said David Banks, a founding member of the academy. "She also helped to sponsor legislation which said that you can do single-gender schools."

"We need to break down all the barriers that keep young people from reaching their full potential, and build ladders of opportunity," Clinton said. "And this is one of the best ladders I know of."

The first Eagle Academy opened in the Bronx in 2004. Clinton then spoke to that graduating class in 2008, right after attending the Democratic Convention that nominated then-Senator Barack Obama as a presidential candidate.

Clinton's appearance at that graduation, coupled with her presence Friday, has won her loyalty in this school community.

"It's definitely not a campaign stop," school consultant Rosemarie Rizzo-Tolk said. "I think Hillary loves the school and really is behind the boys, knowing the overwhelming obstacles that boys have in education today, and I think that it is her heart that is speaking."

Obstacles the students feel they're on their way to beating:

"Being at this school, they give us a whole variety of opportunities," eighth grader Donte Jones said.

"I've been accepted into ten different colleges," senior Jamal Trotman said to applause from the crowd at the fundraiser.