Do we have any fans of The Office here? Hopefully. If not, the first part of the title probably makes no sense to you. Basically, the main character of the show, Michael Scott, makes a promise to a group of children that he would pay for their college tuition provided they graduate high school.
Fast forward nine years later, the class is now graduating, and Michael realizes he doesn’t have enough money to pay for their college, so he ends up getting them laptop batteries instead. The episode is titled, “Scott’s Tots” for those interested. It’s on Netflix.
Anyway, let’s move on to a real life hero. A man who will be able to keep his promise. Marty Burbank, an attorney and Navy veteran, has pledged $1 million to put a group of kindergartners through college. Each student will be guaranteed two years at a community college and two years at a California state school. The only thing they must do is write an essay or draw a picture each year about what going to college will mean for them and their families.
According to Burbank’s calculations, the tuition will cost about $1 million by 2032. He has created a private foundation where he’ll contribute a certain amount of funds each year until he reaches his goal.
The 26 students in the kindergarten class at Rio Vista Elementary speak mostly Spanish at home. They are just now learning English and didn’t know much about the idea of college, but their teacher Tessa Ashton is making sure they never forget it now: “I tell them that they need to sit and listen, because that’s a skill they’ll need when they go to a place called college.”
She never expected someone to come in and surprise her class by paying for their college. And honestly, Burbank didn’t expect it either. A few months ago, he was determined to buy a boat, but his pastor’s sermon on charity and sacrifice changed his mind completely…
“I thought that buying a boat at that point would be a selfish thing. They say give until it hurts a little, and this hurts. But we feel it’s the best investment we could make.”
And that’s the thing, this will hurt Burbank and his wife a bit. They aren’t walking around with fat pockets like Mark Cuban or Donald Trump. Burbank will have to delay retirement for a few years, but it’s totally worth it, because as the classroom’s teacher explained, 26 families can rest a little easier now.
“Suddenly they can dream about a different future for their child, that’s pretty remarkable.”
Image via: CNN