MIAMI (CBSMiami) – At Miami Central Senior High School, seniors were recognized for earning some serious scholarship money.

For their academic signing day, students who received more than $40,000 were called up on stage and announced where they would head in the Fall.

“Today is a day for me to be grateful and thank those people who have helped me come so far,” says Kalida Gawon.

She’s was the recipient of more than one million dollars in scholarship money.

“I watch the news. I watch about people who get scholarships. I could never believe that I would get this far too,” she said. “It was just an inspiration to me, a driving force to always pursue my dreams.”

She and her twin brother Kalid are only 16-years-old and graduating from high school.

The two are from Miami but moved to Nigeria when they were young.

“I spent most of my years in Nigeria,” Kalid explained. “We moved back here when I was 14. At first, when I came here, it was a little bit hard to assimilate because of the different culture.”

He credits their supportive family and teachers with he and his sister’s success. He had earned more than $360,000 in scholarships. He says he applied to 20 different schools and Kalida applied to 35.

They both want to enter the healthcare industry.

Kalid, who plans to attend the University of Florida, wants to be a pharmacist. Kalida will attend Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania and wants to be an OBGYN.

Miami Central has, not one, but two students who achieved the million dollar mark in scholarships.

Tia Ray, 18, will attend Florida State University and wants to be a homicide detective. She too had a long list of applications to 25 schools, but she said FSU has always been her top choice.

“I am the first person in my family to even step foot in college so it’s a very emotional day for me,” she said.

Ray said her motivation is being an example to her five brothers and would encourage others to start and finish high school strong academically.

“I feel as though taking action from your ninth grade year is the best thing you can do,” she said.

It took a lot of studying, hard work, and applying to schools and scholarships. Now, these students can turn the tassel and use their academic achievements to continue to make a difference.

At Miami Central Senior High, 75 percent of the students are going to college. Of those, 80 percent earned scholarships and 15 percent of those earned scholarships of $40,000 or more.

Karli Barnett

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