AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Higher education made its way to a couple of high schools Wednesday.

Local students were in for a big surprise from Augusta University- Georgia’s health, sciences and medical college.

“AU also gave me the offer to apply for their honors program and their nursing scholars program, which I find incredibly amazing- I’m definitely going to take advantage of that,” said Zafirah Richards, a senior at Lakeside High School. “So, I’m really excited. I know my parents are really excited and proud. They know how much of a fan I am of AU- I always go to their tours, it’s a beautiful campus. And, so I’m really looking forward to the fall of 2023!”

Early on Wednesday, 60 students from Lakeside and Davidson Fine Arts high schools learned they have been accepted into Augusta University during what’s called “early action”. 

Students were ushered into a meeting place on campus and greeted by AU’s mascot, Augustus the Jaguar.

“One of the great things about my role is working with prospective students and really seeing their dreams come true.” said Nathan Rice, Director of Undergraduate Admission of Augusta University. “I was a first generation college student myself. And at Augusta University, we really take seriously social mobility and helping students achieve their goals and dreams. And, so, to see that in the face today of our prospective students was really wonderful and I just couldn’t be more happy to be here and have the role I do.”

Representatives from Augusta University say, this year, they have the biggest class of early applicants they’ve ever had. 

Local high school officials say they are excited to continue to see their students be accepted into a leading local institution.

“We all know it is very competitive to get into an institution of higher learning,” said Dr. Rodney Tyson, principal at Lakeside High School. “These are very, very academically driven kids and they want to go ahead and get that admissions process out of the way. Takes a lot of pressure off of them, so it’s a winning situation for them. And for Augusta University as well, it’s a winning situation for them because they are getting some competitive kids that are going to go in there and work hard and continue that legacy of excellence that they’ve established for the university, so I see it as a win-win.”

Forty-three students from Lakeside and 17 students from Davidson continued the celebration with fellow classmates and family. 

“Everyone at school has been very helpful- and my mom,” said Kylee Blount, a senior at Davidson Fine Arts High School. “So, they’ve helped ease my nerves during the whole process. I’m just very grateful for that.” 

Some even made new friends. 

Augusta University is looking forward to the richness that local talent will bring to its school and the community.