JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Eight African-American high school juniors and seniors were recognized Saturday at the 13th Bi-Annual Les Beautillion Militaire.

The Jacksonville Florida Chapter of Jack and Jill of America recognized the eight male students at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.

Event organizers say the young men demonstrated a commitment to excellence by their outstanding leadership abilities, academic achievement and community service.

"Tonight is just a representation of the progress they've made thus far in their life. A lot of sacrifices, a lot of hard work to get here and I'm just glad it's here now."

Channel 4 crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson was the featured speaker at the event.