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Ellen surprises SC teens with scholarships to college, and cash, on talk show

South Carolina teenagers Jaheim President and Darius Smith received pleasant surprises during their appearance on “Ellen.”
South Carolina teenagers Jaheim President and Darius Smith received pleasant surprises during their appearance on “Ellen.” Instagram screen grab

Ellen DeGeneres has a habit of springing surprises on guests when they appear on her popular talk show, and a pair of South Carolina high school students were no exception.

It was a pleasant surprise for Ashley Ridge High School seniors Jaheim President and Darius Smith, who were guests on the “Ellen” that aired Tuesday. They received college scholarships and more money, video posted on YouTube shows. The video has been viewed nearly 75,000 as of Tuesday evening.

After being invited to the couch to talk with DeGeneres, she dropped one piece of good news after another on the Charleston teens.

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After Smith told the talk show host he had been accepted into the College of Charleston, President said he was still waiting to hear about his admission status, saying he was “stressing out,” but trying to remain positive.

That’s when DeGeneres revealed the first surprise.

“We may have said to slow the process down,” video shows DeGeneres saying. “We may have said we would like to let him know.”

DeGeneres opened an envelope and revealed President had been accepted, much to his and Smith’s delight.

But that was not the end of the good news for the young men who said they both want to become teachers to give back to students, since they have received so much from their educators. Both teens said teachers have filled a critical role in their lives, since their fathers have been out of the picture, video shows.

The second surprise — they were getting scholarships.

“One more thing. The College of Charleston heard about you and Darius, and they want to cover your college tuition for all four years,” DeGeneres said, video shows.



If that wasn’t enough, after DeGeneres told President and Smith their high school was receiving a $10,000 check from Cheerios, she informed them they were each getting a $20,000 check.

“It will help with some things. Some stuff, backpacks and stuff,” DeGeneres told the beaming teenagers, video shows.

Both were grateful, as was Ashley Ridge teacher Victoria Merritt, who was also in the audience.

“They make it easy because they are awesome young men,” video shows Merritt saying after President and Smith thanked her. “And they’re going to do great things in the classroom for our future students.”

Even without the scholarships and additional money, the teens had already accomplished so much. During the interview with DeGeneres, President told her he will become the first male in his family to go to college without playing football, while Smith said he is the first person in his family to attend college — ever.

“The College of Charleston is getting two fabulous young men,” Ashley Ridge Principal Karen Radcliffe said, according to the College of Charleston. “I think they will be amazing. They have a heart for people and an enthusiasm for people. They are going to be those kinds of people who cheer for the underdog and want to do everything they can to ensure their students’ success.“

A video of Ellen surprising South Greenville Elementary teacher Michael Bonner has gone viral on social media. DeGeneres is encouraging her viewers to support Greenville, N.C. teacher Michael Bonner and the school, which is in a neighborhood with

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