Andrews, S.C. (WPDE) — "Congratulations! Congratulations!" said Heather Love, the South Carolina state director for The Jefferson Awards Foundation.
ABC 15 News was there for the big surprise for a leadership class at Andrews High School in Georgetown County.
Heather Love, the state director for The Jefferson Awards Foundation, let the class know they are the state winner, heading to Washington D.C., as a part of the foundation's 'Students in Action' program.
"They're going to represent South Carolina at The Jefferson Awards national ceremony in June this summer," said Love.
It is an accomplishment worthy of being recognized collectively as ABC 15's April Jefferson Award winner, too.
"I'm shaking a little bit because I'm excited," said sophomore Tyjon Ragg, after finding out about winning.
At the start of the school year, Ragg and his classmates set out to make sure local 3rd graders meet new testing requirements, as a part of South Carolina's Read to Succeed legisilation.
"It's just to give back. Our community is really small. And for us to do something like this, it really brings the community together," said Ragg.
Their goal was to collect 10 books for all pre-k through second graders at Sampit and Andrews Elementary. That is 6,100 books!
"'Why don't we do it like Ellen? Or why don't we do it like Oprah? You get a book! You get a book! And you get a book!'" said the student leadership class teacher, Kevin Branham.
That is exactly what they did, gathering the students to reveal the big surprise.
"By doing this we're hoping that we can improve literacy and make reading fun for children," said Branham.
Branham says he could not be more proud of the ripple effect his students created.
"Very rewarding. Very proud of my students," said Branham.
"They're really doing something that was worthy of national recognition, from a small town in rural South Carolina. I think that's fantastic," said Love.
The students deserve a big congratulations, as the Jefferson Award winners represent the state of South Carolina.
To nominate someone in your community for The Jefferson Award, click here.