PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A group of Peoria students is being honored for giving back to the community.

Wednesday marked the closing ceremony for the Mayor’s Summer Youth Program.

This year, 14 high school students finished the 8-week internship program.

Over the course of the summer, they worked on a number of beautification projects around Peoria. Projects ranged from litter and trash pick-up to mulching and weeding.

Students also took part in educational activities including visits to local colleges and city departments.

“It’s those experiences whether during those education days or the experiences during their work program that they’re going to find and learn what they do like to do, and what they don’t like to do,” said Nick McMillion, communications specialist with Peoria Public Works. “The process of seeing them grow and work together as a team, it’s been a great experience,” he added.

Michelle Estrada, an incoming senior at Manual High School and program participant, said is she proud of the work the group did this summer.

“When I go see the places that we did, I just feel accomplished, like this is the pride of the southside, and I’m happy to be a part of this program because it helped through a lot, not only with the people here and with myself but just as a better human being,” Estrada said.

Students were paid during the internship, and those that finished the program received certificates and free breakfast.