For the kindergarteners at Rio Vista Elementary School in Anaheim, California, going to college was the farthest thing on their mind.

English was an underdeveloped second language for the 26 students. However, their teacher, Tessa Ashton, went out of her way to make sure these students were constantly learning and hearing about college. She told CNNMoney:

“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.”

The school executes various efforts to keep college on the brain for these students. Ashton explained that the goal was to engrain the idea of college, so that student’s saw it as “much a part of their future as high school or middle school.”

And although many of the students at Rio Vista may never go to college due to the financial burden, last year, one kind-hearted stranger pledged to send all 26 of Ashton’s kindergarteners to college in the year 2032.

Marty Burbank and his wife Seon are both first generation college graduates themselves. Burbank has estimated that the cost of tuition will total to about one million dollars. In the meantime, he has set up a private foundation, where he’ll continuously contribute each year.

College was not necessarily the top priority for these families, but Burbank said:

“I thought, let’s take that financial burden away and maybe these kids will get more encouragement about going to college.”

Burbank, an attorney and Navy veteran, wasn’t always set on being a philanthropist. According to the OC Register, Burbank met, proposed, and married his wife on a boat. And until he heard his pastor’s sermon about charity, the 51-year-old was intent on buying a boat and sailing with Seon.

However, the sermon changed his way of thinking, and in addition to the college fund, Burbank has also donated “time, money and supplies to Rio Vista Elementary,” according to CNNMoney.

Burbank’s full offer includes two years of community college, followed by two years of a Cal State University, as well as textbooks.

And though the Burbank’s are well off and financially stable, this extremely generous donation will definitely make a dent on their savings. He told CNNMoney:

“They say give until it hurts a little, and this hurts. But we feel it’s the best investment we could make.”

Burbank didn’t intend for his generosity to go public, however now that it has, he’s hoping that his actions inspire other acts of kindness from other benefactors. Any effort will help give children in a similar circumstance the chance to even consider college.

“Suddenly [parents] can dream about a different future for their child, that’s pretty remarkable.”

In order for Burbank to go through with his pledge, all he asks is that the students write an essay or draw a picture each year explaining what college will mean to them and their families. The OC Register reported that six-year-old Jessyca Resendiz now has plans to become a doctor once she attends college, a place she described as “a big place and there is a fountain. It has a big cafeteria that has coffee and bread.”

Leave a comment

We are excited to announce Dearly has joined forces with Mama’s Uncut. Helping Mom’s across the United States answer questions on life’s big challenges.

DEARLY JOINING FORCES WITH MAMA'S UNCUT