MILWAUKEE -- New efforts this year in Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) resulted in a record amount of scholarship money awarded to students.
The MPS class of 2017 received more than $61 million in scholarships, MPS officials announced Monday, June 12th.
"This is really a time of celebration for all of our young people," said Darienne Driver, MPS superintendent.
Driver says credit is due to the students -- and their counselors.
"We know it takes a lot of hard work and determination," Driver said.
"If it wasn't for my counselor Lauren Johnson, I don't know where I would be right now," said Asianna Eubanks, who is going to attend Barry University.
Counselors coordinated a new "Cash for College" campaign, connecting students with the right scholarships for them -- and then giving them time to work on applications.
"I think I got the biggest one. It was $20,000," said Michael Rogers, who is attending Marquette University.
The class of 2017 is also the first senior class to take advantage of "Gear Up," a federal grant awarded to eight Milwaukee high schools. It's creating a pipeline to Wisconsin colleges, increasing student access to pre-college programs and sponsoring college tours and visits in and out-of-state.
"I liked the campus. It was something new for me," Eubanks said.
MPS also opened college and career readiness centers in the high schools. At those centers, students received individualized support when completing college applications.
Monday's event was held at Vincent High School because students there more than doubled the amount in scholarships awarded to graduating seniors -- from $723,000 last year to about $1.9 million this year.