Awe-struck parents of kindergartners at a Southern California elementary school were stunned to learn a stranger planned to pay for their children's college tuition.
Fullerton lawyer Marty Burbank and his wife offered to pay the college tuition of 26 kindergarten students at Rio Vista Elementary School. Parents of students at the Anaheim school said they could not believe their children had been given the gift of a lifetime.
"I just can't believe it. I can't" said Maria Rodriguez, the mother of a student. "I don't believe someone would be this interested in paying the tuition of this many kids."
Burbank said he had considered buying himself a boat. He then decided there was more value in removing the financial burden that could have kept these children from attending college.
So, he decided to give them the guarantee of an education instead.
"Buying a boat was a very selfish thing for me, and I can do so much more to impact the lives of these kids," he said.
Burbank promised to pay each child's tuition, starting in 2032. He told the Orange County Register the tuition will probably amount to about $1 million, factoring in inflation rates.
Virdiana Ortiz, another mother, was one of the many overwhelmed with gratitude toward Burbank for his generosity.
"I had never heard of him," she said. "For someone to do something like that..."
So, what's the catch? It's simple, if not beneficiary. Each year, the students must submit an essay or photo explaining what they would like to do when they grow up.
Some, like Rio Vista's Jonathan Juarez, seem to already have a plan.
Said Juarez: "I want to be a firefighter."