MILWAUKEE — It was an emotional and joyous day for 1,000 Milwaukee students as got the best news a senior in high school could get.
More than 1,000 Milwaukee students received nearly $500,000 in scholarships Friday from the United Negro College Fund.
The UNCF came to the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee on Friday as part of its Empower Me Tour, a college readiness fair that connect students with historically black colleges and universities. Local colleges were also part of the event as well. Last year the event gave out $3.8 million to Milwaukee students.
"It’s an emotional day because some of them didn’t even think they could go to college," said Stacey Lee with UNCF. "So we have our counselors on site admitting them on the spot, many of them will receive scholarships. Some of them had no idea that they could even be offered a scholarship to go to college, so it is an awesome day. It’s emotional day, but it’s also an empowering day."
Friday was a dream come true for Kaishawna Fleming. The Rufus King International High School senior was accepted to college.
"My major is music education and psychology," Fleming said. "And I want people to know that even if you have difficult situations in your life, you can always succeed."
Fleming and hundreds of other students applied for and received scholarships at the event.
Just getting a scholarship will help so much because college is expensive," said student Amari Stowers. "And it's like an investment on your life. So if I can scholarship, it's probably going to make me who I am."
Counselors say this experience is empowering to students.
"We need to help our kids understand that you are deserving of a future, and we're here to help you," said Ophelia King, the manager for counselors at Milwaukee Pubic Schools.
It's with that attitude that Shawn Hayes wants to make a difference. Hayes got accepted to Dillard University, and he is the first in his family to go to college, where he wants to study film.
"I need to go to college to be successful to give back to my community," Hayes said.