A scholarship to remember

May 24, 2022

Third graders from Bernard Black Elementary School, AZ, were amazed to find out they were provided free scholarships for college. A private family organization called “The Rosztoczy Foundation”, arranged to give another group of children free college tuition, including room and board. This is now their second time giving out scholarships after their first grant in 2012. 

A Hungarian chemist, Ferenc E. Rosztoczy, began the foundation trying to help Hungarian students to come to the U.S to study. Later, the platform extended into college promise programs. The first students to receive the free ride to college were 3rd graders from Michael Anderson School. The scholarships were fully shared with them when they graduated high school.

 

If donations weren’t made, Erika Valadez, 19, wouldn’t be finishing her first year at Grand Canyon University. Erika didn’t have to waste time taking off for a year to work or apply for loans, she graduated high school valedictorian and went straight to college. “I think I would have taken a few gap years to earn some money…Now, I won’t graduate with over $100,000 in debt,” she said. 

As a third-grader, Valadez couldn’t grasp the award she was presented with, but in her later years, she was very grateful. When finding out about her parent’s financial situation, she said, “It impacts not just you, but everyone around you.”

Ten years later, it is time to give another elementary school a chance. Bernard Black Elementary School held an assembly gathering of all sixty-three third-grade students and their parents.

At first, parents and students thought the assembly was just a regular convocation. When they announced the exciting news, almost every parent broke into happy tears. Attendant Boyce, from the assembly, said, “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It was a truly precious moment. In my 20 years as a student, it was one of the most, if not the most memorable, experiences I have had.”

The scholarships had a significant impact on the parents because most have not even started a college fund and many don’t have enough. The school superintendent said, “About 90 percent of the school district qualifies for free or reduced-price lunches.” 

Reporters interviewed the parents of Abisai, a third-grader, and they were astonished. His mother, Evelia Castaneda, said “I got very emotional.” His father said, “It will be a big difference.” Abisai himself has plans to become a doctor. 

According to the Education Data Initiative, college tuition is $35,331 per year(depending on if you are out-of-state). Over the last years, college tuition fees have increased by seven percent. Tom Rosztoczy, Ferenc’s son stated, “When we felt like we had success as they were graduating last year, we decided we want to do more of this… We spent some time trying to see if it had made a difference, and we felt like it had.” Tom and his brother now run the foundation with his mother.

Their initial goal is to raise enough money to provide two elementary schools with scholarships. 

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