Ellen DeGeneres Surprises Brooklyn Students With College Scholarships | NBC New York

Ellen DeGeneres Surprises Brooklyn Students With College Scholarships

The $1.6 million donation will cover the costs of tuition for 41 graduating seniors

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017)

    Ellen DeGeneres is known for surprising guests with extraordinary gifts. But on Thursday's show the beloved host raised the bar to a higher degree, doing something she has never done before.

    DeGeneres and Walmart have gifted the graduating class of Brooklyn's Summit Academy Charter School four-year college scholarships to any State University of New York school.

    The $1.6 million donation will cover the costs of tuition for 41 graduating seniors.

    "Our mission is for them to go to college," Summit Academy Charter School Principal Cheryl Swift said. "Now they don't have any obstacles."

    Students said they were shocked by the guesture, calling it "stunning" and a "once in a lifetime opportunity."

    The school's founder Natasha Campbell first connected with DeGeneres earlier this month when she shared the school's inspirational story with the talk show host in a letter.

    Campbell shared that Summit Academy Charter School is located in an impoverished neighborhood where only 4 percent of people in the community have college degrees.

    Degeneres invited Campbell and Cheryl Lundy Swift, the school's principal, to share their story during a visit to the show and surprised the educators with $25,000 check from Walmart to help the school continue making a positive impact on their students and community. 

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    The school's mission is to have their students "attend, excel and graduate from college." Campbell revealed that the graduating class of 2017 is tracking for a 100 percent college acceptance rate.

    "Their wildest dreams can be achieved," Campbell said of the donation.

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