Raw emotions were on display today at several local high schools, as students were given a surprise that will no doubt change the rest of their lives.
ABC7 was there as the students were given full scholarships to George Washington University.
GW President Stephen Knapp traveled through several parts of the city and through the halls of a half dozen inner city high schools.
"It's a very exciting day for us, because we get to do something special," Knapp says.
One by one, Knapp walked into classrooms, surprising high school students with Stephen J. Trachtenberg Scholarships, full four-year scholarships to the university, worth more than $200,000 each. The magnitude of the moment was clearly on display with each student.
"I'm so happy right now," says Briana Whitfield, a scholarship recipient. "I wanna cry happy tears of joy, but I'm not, because I'm wearing mascara. I'm just so happy. There's nothing I could have wished for more."
"I'm just happy, like I made it, I got a full ride to college," says Charleene Smith, a scholarship recipient. "I'm just speechless."
The scholarships are named in honor of the school's former president, Stephen Trachtenberg, and have been awarded every year since 1989.
For the students, it means free tuition, room, board, fees, and books. For their parents it means the world.
"I'm so overwhelmed, I'm in shock," says Anthonia Ogu, parent of a scholarship recipient. "I'm so thankful."
The recipients spent the last few months enduring a tough application and interview process in order to get to this point. And all of that made this day even more rewarding.
"It's been a really, really, really long road to get here, but it was worth it," says Leslie Ogu, a scholarship recipient.
This GW scholarship has been a game changer for previous recipients. Many have gone on to successful careers as lawyers and doctors.