Watch 300 Twin Cities students get surprised with college scholarships

As a senior at Harding High School, Max Rouillard-Horne has always dreamed of going to college.

But he didn't know how he was going to pay for it until now.

"It means I can pursue my goals without having to be financially harmed," Rouillard-Horne told FOX 9.

He is one of 316 low-income high school students from 50 schools across Minnesota who received a $16,000 scholarship towards college from Wallin Education Partners.

The nonprofit surprised 10 of the recipients at two high schools with the news and recorded their reactions for a video announcement.

"I just analyzed it for a minute. What does this mean for me? Then it kind of hit me. This is real. This is happening. It was very exciting," said Rouillard-Horne.

"For us, it's about not just about going to college. It's about seeing them graduate and pursuing the dreams they have," said Jean Carlos Diaz, Manager of Marketing and Alumni Relations for Wallin Education Partners.

For some, the surprise prompted laughter, while for others, a flood of tears.

"I didn't expect to cry. I never really cried in front of anyone before or cried from happiness. Very surprised, overjoyed," said Wallin Scholar Kongmeng Thao. 

But for all of them, the scholarships will help their dreams come true.

"Just this complete and total removal of the stress of paying for college is incredible," said Rouillard-Horne.

In all, Wallin Education Partners says it's giving out more than 7 million dollars in scholarships this year and most of the recipients are students of color or first generation.