Wearing their caps and gowns for the second time this year, more than a hundred New Haven high school graduates were given another reason to celebrate their success Thursday.
They are part of the first class of New Haven's Promise Program, and they've been awarded scholarships to cover 25 percent of the tuition at any Connecticut university.
"It means a lot to me, because it's helping me with my tuition, it's helping me to succeed and go to college, and it's helping my family also," said Ashley Bailey, a scholarship recipient.
Bailey is headed to Southern Connecticut State University in the fall.
"I never thought I was going to get a scholarship, and I wasn't college bound when I first started school, so now I made a huge improvement, and now it's like a turn, everybody sees I can do it," said Tiffany Manning, who is also headed to SCSU.
In order to be eligible for the scholarship, students had to earn at least a 3.0 GPA, have a 90 percent attendance rate, no disciplinary record and serve 10 hours of community service. It was no easy feat, but the New Haven students proved they were up to the challenge, and now they're being rewarded.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for Tiffany. My daughter, I am just so proud of her. She came from a D student to an A student, she has made high honors and she's determined to make it through college and get her degree," said Carolyn Barrett.
Even though the students have the money to go to college, their work isn't over. In order to keep the scholarship, they have maintain a 2.5 GPA or better.