NEW YORK (WABC) -- Back in February, applications opened up for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Scholarship program.
Now, 100 lucky students will each be honored during Sunday's parade with a $2,000 scholarship.
Every year, the National Puerto Rican Day Parade awards 100 scholarships valued at $2,000 each, for a total $200,000, to exceptional students of Puerto Rican descent that are making a difference in their communities.
The organization will celebrate 100 exceptional students this weekend.
Among those recipients is Tatiana Rodriguez, who followed her older brother in being awarded the scholarship.
"He told me you should really apply for the opportunity," said Rodriguez. "It opens a lot of doors for you."
The Brooklyn student graduated with a 4.33 GPA and is headed to Cornell.
Her compelling essay about Hurricane Maria, in part, put her at the top.
"In my essay, I talked about after Hurricane Maria, me and my family flew out to help my grandma and also the people in their neighborhood," Rodriguez explained.
For Gabriela Cornier, being a recipient hits home.
She grew up on the island, and now lives in Atlanta.
She's heading to the University of Florida on a volleyball scholarship.
"I just read congratulations and I just started screaming in my car," said Cornier.
Cornier and Rodriguez were among 170 applicants from 20 different states and Puerto Rico vying for the original 100 slots.
The program has awarded $1.5 million in scholarships since it started eight years ago.
"The amount of volunteer work that these applicants are doing is amazing," said Jason Macias, Chair of the Puerto Rican Day Parade Scholarship Committee.
"And the type of projects that they're doing, and the fact that they're finding time to do this with a 4.0 GPA," he added.
ABC 7 New York is your home for the 66th National Puerto Rican Day Parade. Special coverage begins at noon on Sunday, June 11. WABC-TV is proud to be a broadcast partner of the parade.
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