A pair of students at the illustrious Virginia State University (VSU) have earned the title of Mister and Miss HBCU, and they hope to use their positions to call further attention to historically Black colleges and universities throughout the country.

While Isaiah Matthews and Joy Watson —who were previously crowned Mister and Miss VSU — competed in completely separate national pageants, these proud Trojans both wound up earning the titles of Mister HBCU and Miss National Black College Alumni (NBCA) Hall of Fame, respectively.

This coincidence is great news for VSU, as it marks the first time the Ettrick, Virginia, institution wins a national pageant title, WTVR reports.

“HBCUs are extremely important. For Black and brown kids, we go into this scary world. We’re dealing with so much adversity, whether it’s police killings or systematic oppression, but when you go to an HBCU you gain a family,” Matthews, aka Mister HBCU, said, according to the outlet.

“The orange and blue is in my blood,” he proclaimed, proudly referencing VSU’s bold school colors.

Watson, the college’s 94th Miss Virginia State University, shared similar sentiments, noting, “We call ourselves the Trojans and it’s just a school spirit that nowhere else has,” WTVR reports.

The pair also spoke on how the pageant experience allowed them to network with other students and, ultimately, advocate for VSU and general HBCUs.

“When a lot of Black men come together and we are able to be in a space where we can not only be vulnerable but just have a lot of joy, it was so amazing,” Matthews explained, according to WTVR.

“When people see us, they’ll want to go here. When people see us, they’ll want to send their students, their kids, and maybe even become a professor at our university,” Watson elaborated.

In addition to speaking fondly of the overall experience, Watson also made it clear that — with VSU now having won two national pageant titles — she hopes future students will show out and make it a tradition for the institution.

“The goal is to continue to have people from our school, more Virginia State University kings and queens to hold these titles,” she shared.

Shoutout to VSU’s Mister and Miss HBCU!