Okeechobee County businesses and donors help students go to college

Okeechobee County, Fla. - Thursday was a big day for many high school students and their families in Okeechobee County.
Every year businesses and organizations give out scholarships that give kids the opportunity of a lifetime and go to college.

Envelope after envelope was handed out to seniors inside Okeechobee High School.

"I'm excited to see the generosity of Okeechobee County," says student Brandon McKee who plans to study agriculture in college.

The Class of 2014 has plenty of reasons to smile.

"It's great that our community can pull together and do this for us," says student Jaisalyn Santiago, "In a small town like this you wouldn't expect $2 million."

430 scholarships were announced Thursday night. Local businesses and donors gave nearly $693,000.

"You grow up with them," says McKee, "You know their businesses."

Scholarships for the 150 students who applied totaled more than $2.5 million.

"It's just a big deal because that's how we plan on paying," says student Rachel Roehm who plans to attend the University of Florida and major in accounting, "I come from a middle class family."

"Without scholarships I would not be able to get through school and make something of myself," says Santiago.

The local donors are people like Osiel Luviano who owns a construction company.

"I had some scholarships given to me when I was a high school senior and I want to give back to the community," says Luviano.

Phoebe Raulerson's family has a scholarship fund and they donate every year to Okeechobee seniors.

"Makes me feel good for myself because I was able to do it," says Raulerson.

These students have big plans and the scholarships will help make their dreams come true.