Ellen DeGeneres, Wal-Mart Grant Entire Senior Class College Scholarships; Students To Attend 4 Years At Any SUNY School

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald February 28, 04:00 am

Ellen DeGeneres, together with Wal-Mart, have given the best gift to a senior class. The TV host and comedienne granted 41 graduating high schoolers college scholarships. They will be eligible to attend any state university in New York (SUNY) for four years without having to worry about tuition fees and college loans.

The seniors from Summit Academy Charter School in Red Hook, Brooklyn were invited to "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in Los Angeles. Some had an inkling they were getting something from the show as it was customary for DeGeneres to give away stuff from the sponsors. The kids, however, didn't have any idea it would be as big and important as a four-year college scholarship.

"We've never done anything this big before," the host told her guests during the episode that aired Wednesday, according to Fox 8. "We reached out to the people at Walmart and they want to give each one of you a four-year scholarship."

People reported the scholarships amounted to $1.6 million collectively. Before that, DeGeneres also gave the charter school's teachers $25,000 to fund various school projects.

School founder Natasha Campbell, who established the school 10 years ago, told DeGeneres that only about four percent of the adult population in the Red Hook community have college degrees because most families are impoverished. Last year, however, some 93 percent of Summit Academy's graduates have moved on to college, which has been quite an achievement.

For the current senior class, 80 percent have already been accepted at colleges and the school is aiming to repeat their achievement last year. It's for this reason that DeGeneres want to support their cause enough to help the students out.

The video of the kids crying and laughing as they learned about the scholarship has gone viral. DeGeneres said it has been "one of the most incredible moments I've been a part of" in her life.

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