EAST BOSTON (CBS) – It was the best kind of surprise Tuesday for two East Boston High School seniors as they received an amazing gift. Both young women earned full tuition college scholarships. The awards are part of a scholar-athlete program.

A huge “surprise!” followed by applause greeted the two students as they entered the library Tuesday. It was a life changing moment for both.

“I was really surprised. I wasn’t expecting it at all,” says Kayla Elliott.

“I had no idea this was coming,” adds Juliane Jorge.

Both students now have full tuition scholarships. Kayla to Curry College and Juliane to Regis.

scholars East Boston Students Surprised With Full Tuition College Scholarships

Juliane Jorge and Kayla Elliott (WBZ-TV)

“Juliane really stood out because of her impressive leadership as a student, her remarkable GPA and academic commitment,” says Laura Bertonazzi who presented the scholarship for Regis College.

Both East Boston High School seniors are part of the Scholar Athletes program that works with students to encourage excellence. They both have “A” averages, are in the honor society and are captains of their sports teams.

The scholarships will make a difference in their lives. “It definitely means I don’t have to worry about taking out loans and financial struggles, so that’s relieving,” Juliane says.

“It means a whole lot to me because I really wasn’t sure where I was going to go or what I was going to do before. So now it’s just helped me make my decision and makes it easier for me,” Kayla says.

“I’m so proud of her. She’s a good kid. She’s worked so hard for this. It’s amazing,” says Kayla’s father Robert Elliott.

Kayla plans to study nursing, something she’s inspired to do because of the health problems her nephew, Dante, has experienced. Juliane is interested in education or nursing.

“It’s definitely overwhelming for sure, but I’m super grateful for this,” says Juliane.

“I’m just happy!” adds Kayla.

The Scholar Athletes program works in 23 Mass. high schools. In cooperation with a number of colleges, it has helped award more than $4-million in scholarships.

Paula Ebben

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