Ellen DeGeneres gave what the show says is her single biggest gift ever on her show Thursday: She told an entire class of high-school seniors they'd be going to college for free. At the beginning of February, DeGeneres had two teachers from Brooklyn's Summit Academy Charter School on the show, and they talked about how their school is in one of Brooklyn's most under-served areas, where just 4% of the adults in the community have gone to college. The school's goal is for all of its graduates to attend college, and last year's graduating class, the school's first, saw 93% of graduating seniors go on to college. This year, DeGeneres made sure the number would be 100%.
On Thursday, after a follow-up interview with the teachers and some of Summit's students, DeGeneres gave the big news to the seniors—all 41 of whom were in attendance at the show, USA Today reports. With the help of Walmart, each senior will get a full four-year scholarship to any state university in New York. The result: tears, screams, gasps, and hugs in what Mashable calls a scene of "pure, unfettered joy." The gift is worth $1.6 million in total. DeGeneres first learned about the school when its founder wrote and told her its story earlier this month in a letter, NBC New York reports. Watch the video here. (Read more uplifting news stories.)