A New York high school senior was shocked when a representative from the university she wished to attend next year gave her the news she was the first student accepted to the school’s class of 2021.
Long Island resident Daniella Giammona was giving a speech Tuesday night at Answer the Call – New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children's Benefit Fund’s 31st annual gala in Manhattan.
Giammona was 2 years old when she lost her FDNY captain father, Vincent, in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
She spoke at the event about how the organization has helped her and her family through the years.
But unbeknownst to the teen and her family, a representative from Connecticut's Quinnipiac University approached the stage, telling her she was officially accepted into college.
The student applied for early decision and the folks at Answer the Call then coordinated with Quinnipiac on the surprise.
“I was in shock, surprised and excited all at the same time,” she said. “When Rusty [Staub, the founder of Answer the Call] announced that they had a surprise for me, I never imagined it would be my acceptance to Quinnipiac, and it became the greatest surprise in my life!”
She told Inside Edition: "I first became interested in Quinnipiac University when they came to a college fair at my high school. After speaking with the representative I decided that it was one of the schools that I wanted to visit. I went on a tour of the university with my mom last spring and I fell in love with the campus.
"It had everything that I was looking for in a college campus. I then went back for a second time and had my college interview. It was then that I decided to apply [for] early decision."
Giammona said she is thinking of majoring in education but is also interested in becoming a guidance counselor.
She said that when she received the news of her acceptance, she thought: "I couldn’t believe what was happening! I never expected to receive my acceptance in person while I was on stage after delivering my speech! I was in shock!"
The event, which took place at Cipriani Wall Street, raised $2.3 million for the families of fallen FDNY firefighters, NYPD officers and EMS personnel.