Friendship Collegiate Academy senior Takima Johnson, right, reacts to the news that she has won a full scholarship to Hanover College in Indiana. (Emma Brown)

Three seniors at Northeast Washington’s Friendship Collegiate Academy went to school Tuesday expecting nothing more than an ordinary February day. And then, in the middle of class, they were ambushed with a surprise announcement: Each had won a scholarship to Hanover College, a small liberal arts school in southern Indiana.

“I’m so excited. I’m ready to go now!” said Takima Johnson, who won a four-year full ride worth more than $135,000 and who — according to her mother and teacher — hasn’t stopped talking about Hanover since she visited the campus earlier this school year.

Cora Smallwood and Tynisha Little each received partial scholarships worth more than $80,000. Hanover representative Monica Green delivered the news to the unsuspecting winners as their classmates and parents cheered them on.

“Words cannot express how proud I am of my daughter,” said Jeanette Watkins, Takima’s mother, who brought a bunch of balloons to celebrate.

Friendship Collegiate is a large charter school that serves primarily African American and low-income students. It has one of the highest four-year graduation rates in the city — above 95 percent — and has more graduates each year than every city high school except Wilson, in Northwest Washington.

Michelle Little, Tynisha’s mother, said she was a little heartbroken that Hanover is so far from Washington. “But I’m going to let her go,” Little said. “I don’t want her to ever say I stopped her from achieving something.”