Before Christmas last year, Marty Burbank worshipped at Eastside Christian Church in Anaheim, CA. The 51-year old attorney was planning to buy a boat, but when he heard a sermon on "giving," a better idea popped into his head. He knew very few kids at nearby Rio Vista Elementary School would go to college. Their parents never went, and could not afford it. Even so, some teachers at Rio Vista decorate their rooms with college colors and emblems, so children would at least know about higher education. Kindergarten teacher Tessa Ashton decorates her room with Indiana University emblems, and her kids, shown below, sing the IU Fight Song several times a day.
Courtesy photo / Marty Burbank
Her students became concerned recently when Mr. Burbank visited their room with a message for their teacher and it made her cry. He told her he will spend about $1 million to pay college tuition for all 26 boys and girls in her room -- the Class of 2032. "I'd rather not have a boat and get these kids through school," he said. As soon as he left, Ashton taught a lesson about "happy tears." The children don't fully understand the value of Burbank's gift yet, but they have a clue. Six-year-old Jessyca Resendiz said, "College is a big place where there is a fountain. It has a big cafeteria that has coffee and bread. Now she plans to go to the place with the fountain, and become a doctor.