PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Six local high schoolers were surprised with full-ride scholarships to Bradley University this morning.

These scholarships are part of the Hometown Scholars Program, which is meant for Bradley to improve its relationship with the local region. Students were surprised by classmates, family members, and Bradley representatives such as the Kaboom mascot.

Qualified students must apply, be enrolled in a participating high school, and be part of an underrepresented population at Bradley.

The financial burden of a college education being lifted is a relief for students and their families.

“It’s just the fact that it will help me with my education and release a burden on my family with the money, and I just wanted to make them proud,” said Naidelyn Osegueda, a senior at Manual High School who was one of the six chosen for the scholarship.

Leaders of the program believe keeping talented students in the area is huge for not just Bradley, but the city of Peoria.

“It shows these students that there are great things here in Peoria, you don’t have to go to another city to get a world class experience and live a good life,” said Warren Anderson, the Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Bradley University.

The hometown scholarship is renewable for four years at Bradley.