MIAMI (CBSMiami) – 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project honored 42 young men of color Wednesday at the Miami-Dade County School Board.

Graduating seniors were presented with scholarships to their University or College of choice to mark their completion of the program.

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The award was handed out by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who is the program’s founder.

5000 Role Models of Excellence focuses on the critical need in the minority community for mentoring at-risk boys with the goal of helping them excel in college and the future.

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The program’s website says the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project services 105 schools within Miami-Dade County Public Schools. It has more than 8,000 participants and over 6,000 volunteers.

“Half of my friends that I grew up with they didn’t take the same path and now they’re either in jail dead or just down the wrong path doing the wrong things and I’m different growing up I thought different was a bad thing, but now I stand out being different is good, and through this program I realized that,” said scholarship recipient Jaden Swanson.

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Students also receive a laptop and a Sean Jean suit to mark their graduation from high school and 5000 Role Models of Excellence.