GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It was no ordinary Monday for five South Mississippi students. The "Get2College Scholarship Squad" showed up at their schools to surprise them with money for college. Two of those students are seniors at Gulfport High.
The "Scholarship Squad" ran into a classroom at Gulfport High and broke into a chant.
"When I say pay it, you say forward. Pay it. Forward. Pay it. Forward."
The students looked amused and confused until the singer pointed to Catherine Bruni. Catherine was awarded a $1,000 prize from the Get2College Center.
"I thought something was happening really big and I had no idea what was going on," she said. "It would definitely help me because I have two younger brothers that also have to go through college, so it would help me not to have to put as much of a burden on my parents."
The Scholarship Squad then moved to the next classroom to surprise another student.
"The winner of the scholarship is Nick Myers!" the singer announced.
A stunned Nick Myers stepped forward to accept his $1,000 check presented by his mom and dad.
"First, I got really freaked out and my adrenaline started pumping when they all ran in and threw candy at us," he said.
"We got the students to see how much fun it can be to be awarded a scholarship, to be surprised. It feels wonderful to be able to give back to the students in our community," said Get2College Center Director Kimberly Trosclair.
Out of 1,200 applicants statewide, only 50 winners were chosen. Students had to write an essay. This year's topic was "Pay It Forward".
Catherine focused on the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina.
"We did many drives here at school like clothing drives and canned food drives and we would send them to all the victims of Hurricane Sandy and it made an impact because that's what people would do for us during Hurricane Katrina," she said.
Nick wrote about his two-year battle with Leukemia and how the community's response inspired him to help others.
"The community around me that really helped me get through a tough time that I had to go through, and I think everyone rallying around me kind of brought awareness and that's the reason that I'm blessed to have this," he said.
"It's just amazing, amazing. This whole journey has been just incredible and for this to happen, it's icing on the cake," said Nick's mom Jennifer Myers.
Four more students will get a surprise visit from the Scholarship Squad on Tuesday. In all, there are 15 winners from South Mississippi.
This year, the Get2College Center also awarded $500 scholarships to nine high school juniors. Three students from Ocean Springs, Biloxi and Gautier won the prize based on their resumes.