LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) — “All the hard work has finally paid off to get me to where I am right now,” said Madalyne Kirby, scholarship recipient.

The University of Texas at Tyler traveled around East Texas Friday to surprise outstanding seniors with scholarships.

“We are passing out these 25 scholarships, $10,000 a year for 4 years at UT Tyler,” said Kirk Calhoun, M.D., UT Tyler President.

Surrounded by their family, friends, and classmates,  three students at Tyler Legacy High School and one at the UT Tyler University Academy in Longview received a big check for a total of $40,000.

“I was expecting someone else’s name, you know like cheering on my class and then they said mine, I was like whoa I wasn’t ready for it,” said Kirby.

Longview senior Madalyne Kirby was brought to tears.

“With this opportunity… I have more of a purpose in the sense of I’m so excited just to start college,” said Kirby.

For Kirby and the other students, this money will help them reach their dreams.

“It means that I don’t have to pay for college anymore like I don’t have to be stressing about that and worrying about it anymore,” said Namarie Perez, scholarship recipient.

Perez said this scholarship was the only way she could continue her education.

“I was not at the funds where I need to be, but I am now,” said Perez.

Kirby and Perez said they couldn’t have reached this point without support at school and at home.

“My mom always like pushed me so hard to like chase what I’m after,” said Perez.

Each student is thankful for the opportunities the money will open up for them and for knowing their hard work paid off.