GCU surprises 25 high school seniors with full-tuition scholarships

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Grand Canyon University surprised 25 students with scholarships on Tuesday. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Grand Canyon University surprised 25 students with scholarships on Tuesday. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
It's part of the Students Inspiring Students program they started in 2013. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) It's part of the Students Inspiring Students program they started in 2013. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The students had no idea they were getting the scholarships until Tuesday night. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The students had no idea they were getting the scholarships until Tuesday night. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The parents were also surprised Tuesday night and crying tears of joy. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The parents were also surprised Tuesday night and crying tears of joy. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

"Imagine going to school and not worrying about the finances," said Dr. Joe Veres of Grand Canyon University.

That is what GCU is doing for 100 high school seniors this year. It's part of the Students Inspiring Students program they started in 2013.

"Students put in a certain amount of time and have a certain GPA they can be awarded this scholarship, four years’ free tuition," Dr. Veres.

The students spend 100 hours in the learning lounge, tutoring other high school students. It's the "pay it forward" part of getting the scholarship that will help them chase their dreams.

"This is what you live for. You live for seeing the life-changing moment for all these families, this is what it is," said Dr. Veres.

The surprise for these students is they had no idea until this moment that they were receiving the scholarships.

"Bursting with emotion and so happy and so grateful that I got this scholarship," said Manuel Espinoza, scholarship recipient.

“I was very surprised. I was really excited because I realized this is the college I’m going to, this is a reality,” said Sofia Larrea, scholarship recipient.

Their parents were also surprised Tuesday night and crying tears of joy.

"I’m so proud she has worked so hard. She wants to be a doctor and she is gonna be able to do it," said Julie Larrea.

"This is a step in the right direction and I know I’ll be able to follow my dreams," said Sofia Larrea.

GCU will have three more groups of 25 students to surprise over the next two months.

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Ashlee DeMartinoAshlee DeMartino is excited to finally be back in her hometown of Phoenix.

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Ashlee DeMartino
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An award-winning journalist, Ashlee has worn many hats in her career, one-woman-band, executive producer, anchor, reporter and morning traffic reporter. However, her main focus and passion is weather.

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