HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Three thankful high school students at YES Prep in Houston were surprised on Wednesday with a $1,000 star-studded shopping spree for each of them at The Galleria.
"Everybody knows that Houston has just been beat up, right?," asked Susan Cochran, senior marketing manager with Cricket Wireless. "And these three kids, you know, they were displaced, they didn't have a place to live."
"This isn't necessarily help," said rapper Paul Wall. "This is an award."
"This is a joke. This is not funny. Like is this real?," asked senior Davenese Bailey, one of the three students surprised.
Bailey, Eden Umaanzor and Jason Akpabio were presented with the unexpected afternoon with rappers Paul Wall and Lil' Keke. Social media star Athena broke the news to these deserving students.
"We're going to each give you all $1,000," said Athena to the students. "Not $100. We're going to give you each $1,000 to buy whatever you want."
"This is great, man," said Lil' Keke. "This is a humbling situation for me."
All three winners were not feeling so fortunate this year as 2017 brought a lot of unwelcome surprises for them.
"It's like L after L after L, oh my bad...after L," explained Bailey.
"My mom, she was dying from cancer and like, she passed away," said Akpabio. "God rest her soul. It was like me, her, my brother and sister."
Whether dealing with a family tragedy or being forced from their home due to Harvey, these high students have experienced hardships that seemed, for a brief moment on Wednesday, to fade away.
"Life is going good right now and I'm just very thankful," said a tearful Umaanzor. "You know life is hard working. Like I said, I've been working since I was 15 and it's hard sometimes to provide and also save for yourself."
A shopping spree won't fix the tough road that lies ahead for these three college hopefuls, but it at least brought a spirit of joy to a year full of trials.