BUFFALO, N.Y. - On national signing day, Bennett High School recognized not just athletes, but academic scholars.

"This is not just to inspire Bennett students, but the community in general. For other students so they can see they can be on stage and watch this on television and say, you know what I'm going to aspire to that as well," said Dr. Bert Stevenson, principal of Bennett High.

In a district where graduation rates have been low and too often students are making headlines for all the wrong reasons, Wednesday was a day to celebrate. "We'll have close to $650,000 in scholarships in one day," said Dr. Stevenson.

Two students are heading to Division I colleges. Isaiah McDuffie is going to Boston College and Brandon Brown will attend Central Michigan.

Buffalo Schools Athletic Director Aubrey Lloyd said, "this is a first time in a very long time that we are able to celebrate and witness our student athletes sign letters of intent to go to D-III, D-II and D-1 colleges."

All of the students live in the city, some on the eastside where they know of many young people who have made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Parents were all smiles. Robert Parish's son Monte will head to Buffalo State College in the fall. He said parental involvement and excellent and concerned teachers and coaches helped. "Watching his association is really what I work with to make sure he doesn't do the wrong thing," he said.