There was a big celebration Thursday night at the University of Hawaii-Manoa’s Campus Center Ballroom for some of the UH’s brightest students who were awarded 30 scholarships.

Twenty incoming freshmen from 15 high schools across the state were honored as regent scholars, which means they get a free ride for four years for their undergraduate degree.

There were also 10 college juniors who are presidential scholars, and they will get a full tuition waiver for two years.

All scholars will receive $4,000 a year and a one-time travel grant of $2,000.

Regents Scholar Rebekah Loving, who will study computer science at UH Hilo, has been designated the Senator Daniel K. Akaka Regents Scholar for Academic Excellence, a distinction offered to a Presidential Scholar with a particularly exceptional record of academic and creative achievement.

On being the first person in her family to attend college, Coralyn Sunico of UH West Oahu said “it means a lot because growing up with my family, there was no one that could help and so I didn’t know what to do, I was so lost. I just really wanted to continue school because I wanted to gain that knowledge to help other people.”