Arlington students surprised with full ride scholarships to TCU

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A group of high school seniors thought they were just getting a tour of Texas Christian University, but they received much more than that.

Tuesday was a big day for Sam Houston High School. They had 18 students who were finalists for the TCU scholarships. Nine of them were selected. It was two new records for the school that everyone is celebrating.

It was the moment nine hard-working Sam Houston High School students had been hoping for. During a surprise ceremony on Tuesday, the seniors found out they were each awarded a full ride to TCU. The academic scholarships are valued at $250,000 apiece.

“I’m just really grateful more than anything because they could've chosen anybody, but they chose me,” said student Andrew Mitchell. “You don’t pass up $260K. You just don’t.”

It’s been a tough journey that started in the students’ junior year. First, the recipients had to earn acceptance into TCU. Then, they had to apply separately to the university's community scholars program, including a two-day interview process before being selected.

Recipient Hoang "Sally" Ho came to the U.S. from Vietnam in 2016.

“For me, this is my American dream because my goal when I came here was to obtain a better education,” How said. “And getting this opportunity to go to TCU is my American dream.”

And for student Kesley Bowie, whose dream is to become a nurse practitioner, the scholarship is the good news she and her family needed.

“It has been a struggle personally with my grandparents because they were both diagnosed with aggressive cancers. So it’s been tough with school, work and trying to focus on that and my family,” Bowie said. “But I know they’re going to have a big smile on their face to see what happened today.”

The students said they couldn’t have gotten there without the help of their parents, teachers and guidance counselors.

As part of the scholarship, each student gets to study a semester abroad at a country of their choosing.