JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Seven students at Nettleton High School received Arkansas State University's top scholarship.
Each student will get a full ride to ASU for four years, totaling $56,000.
NHS had the most students in the state to receive this scholarship.
Students needed a 3.5 GPA and a 30 on their ACT, along with an essay, resume and reference letters.
"My first thought was, 'Wow that's a lot of money. More money than I've ever had before,'" scholarship recipient Adam Young said.
"They came and surprised us out of class. They brought a check so that was pretty cool to have something to hold and be proud of," scholarship recipient Stewart Bridger said.
"It was exhilarating. It felt really good to know all the hard work you did for the past 12 years paid off," scholarship recipient Tyler Cornwell said.
The students said their pocket books were also relieved.
"Not having to worry about working while I'm in college and finding a way to pay for it just makes it a whole lot easier," Bridger said.
"I wouldn't have to worry about the debt after college so it was really exciting," scholarship recipient Jake McMasters said.
"Especially going to graduate school or something, you wouldn't have to load on that debt," scholarship recipient Kristen Lilly said.
Their counselor agreed.
"There's that stress of how to pay for college and also how to be successful at college and so this relieves one of those burdens and one of those barriers for them," senior counselor Amanda Waln said.
Waln said the students' key to success is hard work.
"Our curriculum is very, very rigorous. We offer concurrent credit classes, advanced placement classes. We also work really closely with the students and their parents and try to see exactly what that student's niche is, where will they fit, and try to focus on that end goal," Waln said.
About five seniors at Nettleton High School receive this award every year.
"To have that many of our students recognized every year speaks to the caliber of students we have here at Nettleton," Waln said.
These scholarship winners offered up advice to younger students.
"Study for your tests. I know nobody wants to, but you have to do it," Cornwell said.
"Working hard, always do your best, try not to be lazy," McMasters said.
"Don't give up on taking the ACT because it took me a long time to get my score up where I could apply for the scholarship," scholarship recipient Emily Lindley said.
"Even from your ninth grade year, it does start then. So you need to try early and that way you can get your ACT score up and get the scholarships you want," Bridger said.
They said these tips will help students fulfill their dreams once they walk out those high school doors.
These students have a wide variety of aspirations, from becoming professors to dentists to electrical engineers.
The seventh student who received the scholarship was Makayla Moody.
Waln said NHS also has the lowest remediation rate of any high school in Craighead County as students enter their freshman year at ASU.