Seniors at Normandy High School got a surprise announcement Monday when black church leaders gathered in the school gym to announce that 11 students would receive a full ride to colleges operated by the churches, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Michael Brown graduated from Normandy High School days before he was shot and killed this past August by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer. His killing reignited national conversations about race and the policing of black people in the U.S. Brown’s death also shined a light on the larger educational inequities faced by Brown and his classmates. Normandy High School has for years struggled with accreditation issues and posted alarmingly high school discipline rates.

The scholarships, which will include full tuition, were offered by colleges run by African-American Methodist churches: African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion; and Christian Methodist Episcopal. The scholarship program “means a lot,” Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.