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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Future doctors, lawyers and army generals.

Some bright high school seniors gave up hanging out with friends, playing sports and doing other activities to focus on their studies. Now all that hard work is finally paying off and being recognized.

High school seniors decked out in their future school colors were honored at Hoggard High School’s first Academic Signing Day. It is similar to an athlete’s signing day, but it’s for students who received merit-based academic scholarships.

“It’s just great, because normally all the cameras do go to the athletes, and seeing people who are scholarly more than athletic get recognized is just awesome,” said Michael Grieb, who earned an appointment to the US Military Academy in West Point, NY, with hopes of reaching the rank of general in the US Army.

Fellow senior Da’Shaun Harrison says all the hard work these four years was worth it, especially now that the school recognized him and 20 other scholarship winners’ accomplishments.

“It’s definitely time we begin to appreciate the people that do well in academics as well as they do the athletics,” Harrison said.

Harrison battled heart problems the last six months of high school, but he still managed to snag three scholarships.

“I got the Morehouse Merit Scholarship, 100 Black Men Scholarship and the Lower Cape Fear Aid Scholarship, and I have decided to further my education for the next four years in Atlanta at Morehouse College,” he said.

And his mother could not be prouder.

“I’m honored to be the mom of an Einstein,” Nichelle Spicer said.

Organizers say this is the first academic signing of its kind in New Hanover County. They hope to continue the tradition next year with even more students.

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