Harlem senior surprised with $60K scholarship to HBCU of her choice

"Hard work pays off."

That’s a lesson Harlem senior Bri Butler learned first-hand at the HBCU night at Madison Square Garden, and we’re sure it’s a night she’ll never forget.

The New York Knicks put HBCU’s across the United States on full display for their HBCU night Monday at The Garden, hosting an HBCU panel discussion ahead of the big game featuring former Knicks' player Alan Houston and comedian and daily show host Roy Woods Jr.

Among those attending was Butler, who would get a surprise of a lifetime.

Bri Butler was awarded the $60,000 Garden of Dreams Inspire Scholarship to whatever HBCU she chooses to attend.

She was awarded the $60,000 Garden of Dreams Inspire Scholarship to whatever HBCU she chooses to attend. 

"It was amazing, it was really amazing," Butler said. "I don’t know, I’m just so shocked. I didn’t think I was going to get it, but I’m very shocked. This is an amazing moment. I'm truly inspired to do bigger and better things in life."

The Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts senior went to the game thinking she’d be recognized for her involvement with the Knicks Garden of Dreams Foundation, but was caught off guard. 

The student has already been accepted to seven different HBCU’s, with one left on her list.

Just before tipoff, Morgan State University’s choir, an HBCU in Baltimore, sang the national anthem for thousands of fans.

Morgan State University’s choir sang the national anthem for thousands of fans just before tipoff.

"My HBCU’s getting recognition. We’re getting recognition and HBCU’s in general getting recognition. It’s a great thing," said Julien Johnson, a senior Morgan State multimedia journalism major. 

The Knicks took a moment to honor the Captain, the late Willis Reed who passed away last week. Reed was a second round draft pick out of Grambling State, as well as a 2-time world champion.

The Knicks honored the late Willis Reed, who passed away last week.

From a late great to a future great, Butler already has a nice list of HBCU’s to choose from, but she’s already getting some suggestions.

"Even when you graduate you always have that family. Being on campus you’ll feel that family atmosphere. Come to Morgan. Come to Morgan," suggested Dale Sanders, Morgan State choir member. 

While Butler hasn’t decided where she’ll take her talents for school next year, two things are for sure after Monday night: Her college education will be affordable, and it’ll be an HBCU.