Former schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott visited the Queens high school he once attended to award scholarships to a deserving group of students Monday.
The former chancellor says he turned down a going away present when he left the Department of Education in December.
Instead, DOE staff members raised money in his name to fund scholarships for ESL students at his alma mater, Francis Lewis High School.
The Chancellor says they raised about $41,000 dollars, which will be distributed between the eight students he met.
The students say having the opportunity to speak with the former chancellor was almost as exciting as receiving the scholarship itself.
"These are great students to receive a scholarship of the money that was raised on behalf of my departure and it was just a fantastic way of a going away gift, but a going away gift that benefits students, and students who have serious needs," Walcott said.
"Today meeting him was the best thing in the world. It was actually my dream to see him and talk to him. I thought he's not going to come because he has so much work to do, but today when I heard he was coming, it was such good news for me," said scholarship recipient Harpreet Singh.
This is my most important accomplishment in my life," said scholarship recipient Shuping Zheng.
Walcott says the students can use the money for tuition, books or various education-related expenses.