HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – A record number of scholarships were awarded to 13 Bethel High School band seniors.

The group earned more than $450,000 in band scholarships. Many of them earned full-ride scholarships.

“It was dedication,” said Bethel High School senior Yuzori Graham.

She’s headed to Morgan State University with a full-ride scholarship.

“Oh, my God, they really like me. They really like me like that,” Graham said, recounting the moment she learned the university wanted her.

It’s not the first time the school has sent students off to college with a scholarship, but it’s the biggest amount of scholarship money.

“My goal is to have their work result in helping them go to and pay for at least all of college or part of college tuition,” said Bethel High School band director Jerry Lancaster.

It’s Lancaster’s mission to make band kids realize their potential in higher education.

John Pegram is proof. He planned on going to college for track and field. It was not panning out, so he dug into his instrument and got himself multiple offers.

“I started putting in the work,” he said. “The people around me were like ‘Woah, I didn’t know it could be this serious.'” 

He is currently trying to narrow down his options. He’s deciding between Hampton University and Norfolk State University.

“It’s a very humbling experience to see what kind of work you put in to go the places you want to be,” he said.

Some of the universities the students are going to include Hampton University, Norfolk State University, Morgan State University and Wilberforce University