USC's Neighborhood Academic Initiative honors young graduates

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Sixty-one graduates of USC's Neighborhood Academic Initiative Program were honored Thursday night at the program's annual gala.

After completing the pre-college enrichment program, the scholars will continue their education at a college or university this fall.

Eleven of those students were accepted to USC on full-tuition scholarships. Most of the students will be the first in their families to attend college. To date, 871 students from South Los Angeles have graduated from the program and continued to higher education.

"I'm still in awe right now. I'm so blessed to be able to be a part of this program and it's so amazing," said Steven Pham of the Foshay Learning Center.

"NAI has really helped me achieve a lot of the goals that I've set for myself throughout these four years and has really helped me make my family proud," Alfa Lopez said, who also attended the Foshay Learning Center.

Stormtroopers invaded the ceremony, along with actors Mark Hamill and Tom Kenny. They helped auction off backpacks full of supplies for the students heading to college.
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