D.C. seniors surprised with scholarships

What started out as a normal day at school turned into a life-changing moment for three seniors at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Northeast D.C. Tuesday morning. They were each surprised with tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money.

Before her name was even announced, Takima Johnson realized what was coming. She was awarded a Benjamin Templeton Scholarship to Hanover College in Indiana, worth $140,000 – a full-ride.

But the biggest surprise came when Johnson's mother walked in the room to congratulate her daughter. Johnson thought she was at work. “When she came in, I was just like, ‘Mommy, I did it. Like, I knew we could do it,’” Johnson said.

Her mother Jeanette Watkins said, “I've still got tears in my eyes. I'm very proud of her. I'm very excited. I'm happy for her.”

Watkins said her daughter has been an honor student since age four. Like any parent, it will be hard sending her off to college.

“It's been a long road, so I'm happy for her,” Watkins said.

Johnson struggled to find words to describe the scholarship surprise. “I couldn't move. Oh my God. This is so overwhelming. I'm so excited. I'm so happy I got it,” she said.

Johnson plans to major in psychology in college. And that is not all. Once she attains her bachelor’s degree, she plans to start working toward her PhD.

Johnson's classmates, Cora Smallwood and Tynisha Little, also received Hanover scholarships worth $80,000 each.

Smallwood said, “I need this so much. And I'm just proud of myself because this is a big achievement for me. And I know my mom and my dad and my sister are really proud of me right now.”