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'This means everything': Twin Cities students surprised with $16K scholarships

Students from dozens of schools across the state were awarded more than $7 million from St. Paul-based nonprofit Wallin Education Partners.

MINNEAPOLIS — Access to higher education usually comes with a hefty price tag. To help Minnesota students achieve their dreams, nonprofit Wallin Education Partners is giving millions of dollars to deserving high school scholars to ease their financial burden.

In total, Wallin is giving more than $7 million to 316 four-year program students from more than 50 high schools across the state.

To celebrate their 30th year, Wallin visited two local schools, Harding High School in St. Paul and South High School in Minneapolis, to surprise 10 students with their $16,000 scholarships in person.

In a video posted Tuesday, several students are seen sitting down to talk about recognizing seniors as the school year draws to a close – or so they thought. A few minutes later, each student was given an envelope containing news of their scholarship.

"This means everything," Harding senior Erin Tetter said through tears. "I've struggled my whole life with money so I haven't been able to do a lot of things that other people are able to do. So being able to receive this scholarship just means the absolute world to me. I get to do what I want."

"This covers half of what I needed for the rest of St. Olaf, so it's perfect," said Max Rouillard-Horne.

The five-minute video was created by two former Wallin scholars, Miguel Marin, a Harding alum, and Jean Carlos Diaz, who went to Blaine High School.

Founded by Win Wallen in 1992, St. Paul-based Walling Education Partners has given out more than $65 million in scholarships to more than 6,000 students. The nonprofit strives to make "college graduation accessible for students with financial need."

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