The entire senior class of a charter school in New York City received college scholarships courtesy of Ellen DeGeneres and Walmart (video below).
Ellen made the announcement on her talk show Feb. 23, surprising the 41 graduating seniors of the Summit Academy Charter School after bringing them on stage with her. The scholarship — paid for by Walmart — is worth a total of $1.6 million and covers all state universities in New York.
The Summit Academy Charter School is located in a poverty-stricken area of Brooklyn. Only 4 percent of people in the neighborhood have college degrees, according to WNBC.
“A lot of us are really fortunate and we take for granted how easy our life is, and to go to the school we want to go to,” Ellen said on her show. “And these kids have overcome all kinds of things, and they go to school every single day, and they work hard every single day, and all they want to do is go to college.”
“We’ve never done anything this big before,” she continued. “We’ve reached out to the people at Walmart and they want to give each one of you a four-year scholarship.”
Before she could finish her sentence the room erupted in applause. Several of the kids began to cry.
“We were lost for words when we found this out,” one student told WNBC. “It was just stunning.”
Another told the news station that she will be the first member of her family to attend college.
“I never thought this would actually become reality because no one in my family ever graduated or even finished high school,” she said.
The school’s principal, Cheryl Swift, said the Summit Academy’s goal is to send all of its students to college.
“Our mission is for them to go to college, and excel in college,” she explained. “Now we don’t have any obstacles stopping them.”
“This means that the sky is the limit,” Swift added.