The Brownwood High School community celebrated its graduating seniors who are headed for post-secondary institutions with a National Academic Signing Day rally Thursday in Warren Gym.

Students cheered and shouted as their classmates were called by name to gather at tables representing each institution. The 151 students received certificates and paperwork that will enable them to received scholarships through the Brownwood Education Foundation.

The foundation has been raising money for the scholarships and will continue raising the money through the end of June, foundation development officer Larry Mathis said.

“We don’t know as yet what each student will get,” Mathis said.

The event was “as much a celebration of achievement for those students as it is offering them aid,” Mathis said in a Brownwood Education Foundation press release.

“We want them to know we’re proud of them, we’re proud they’re going to pursue their education and we want to celebrate with them.”

The event, sponsored by TexasBank, was similar to a pep rally as cheerleaders were present and the Brownwood High School band played.

While some students will be attending local schools such as  Howard Payne University, Texas State Technical College and Ranger College, many other schools were represented.

Ten students are joining the armed services, some will use their certifications achieved and some will move into technical schools for culinary arts, real estate and cosmetology.

Many others are bound for institutions including Texas A&M, Texas State, the University of Texas, the University of Memphis, the Metropolitan State University of Minnesota and Michigan State.

“We have quite a variety,” said foundation advisory board member Jamie Munson. “We would love for them to get their education, then come back to Brownwood. We hope that there is something in Brownwood, Texas, that they can do. The kids with certifications are ready to hit the ground running. They’re going to be in our community. Let’s give them a big hurrah.

“For the student who might be on the fence — to go to work or go to school — and they come and see this, they will see they are important,” said Munson. “They have value. We want everyone to come home. We really want people to choose to live in Brownwood. Like I told my kids, go off and get your education, then choose to come back. We want you to choose us.”

The Education Foundation has touched students' lives throughout their academics and high school, Munson said. “We want to send them off and say, ‘We haven’t forgotten you,'" she said. "'We want to touch your life one more time. Let’s celebrate.’”