MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- It's a big day for Minneapolis North High School's graduating class of 2022.
Pillsbury United Communities raised $1 million for the kids. It means each graduating senior is getting a $10,000 scholarship for career training or college.
It's been a rough couple of years for North High School's graduating seniors.
The young people have fought to continue their education during a pandemic, an uprising sparked by the murder of George Floyd, and a surge in gun violence mostly based in their community.
A strike by Minneapolis Public School educators and the murder of a beloved classmate Deshaun Hill Jr. forced Pillsbury United Communities into action to counteract these extreme difficulties.
"I started crying when they said 10,000 per person," said Ronaiya Bickham.
North High Principal Mauri Freisleben told the group they are not victims and are not to be pitied.
They deserve to be honored and are worthy of every ounce of love that comes their way.
"Just in this moment the youth needed a signal of hope and let them know that this community cares about them," said Adair Mosely, CEO of Pillsbury United Communities.
Pillsbury United Communities raised the $1 million in scholarship funds from donations given by foundations and corporations.
For roughly 100 students, this gift will be life changing.
Watch an extended cut of the announcement and student reactions:
"It means a lot to me because now I don't have to worry about school payments for my tuition and now for housing," said Jorja Brown-Skinner.
"For me this is paying for my medical school expenses. I'm going to medical school to be a surgeon so this is what I'm using this for I ain't got to worry about it," Bickham said.
Students who do not have an immediate plan will have up to one year to figure out their plans. Most students say their plans can now be realized with this financial help.
"I'm going to law school so I am grateful, honestly. North is always trying to make sure that we are good and they definitely showed that today," said Khadija Ba.
Pillsbury United is hiring counselors for the summer to support students through this process.
The scholarship money will be given directly to the schools once the students choose.
Pillsbury United encourages additional donations by clicking here.
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