Last week, Bernard Black Elementary School’s third graders and their families were delivered life-changing news that all 63 third graders would receive full-ride scholarships to college, NBC 21 News reported. Roosevelt School District Superintendent Quintin Boyce announced this to parents, who were under the impression that the meeting was a standard assembly.
“I just thought it was another award because he’s a good kid,” Brandon Gailliard said about his son, Noah. Gailliard added that he “couldn’t hold back” his tears, knowing that his son would attend college since he didn’t go because of how expensive it was.
Another parent thought it was an award ceremony, as well.
“For every Bernard Black third grader that is right here with us, they are offering a full-ride college scholarship,” Boyce announced to the crowd. The superintendent also revealed that the scholarships were made possible by the Rosztoczy Foundation, a South Phoenix nonprofit, through their program called “College Promise.”
Students will have their college tuition, books, and room and board.
“The goal, through the generous officer of this family, is that finances will not be the barrier that college is an option for every third grader right here,” Boyce said.
In response to the big news, Tanisa Miller, a single mother of two, shed tears of joy.
“I’m a single parent, and college is far away, but it’s not easy,” Miller said. “Just thinking that someone has the kindness of their heart to want to send someone like my child to school is a little overwhelming.”
Tom Rosztoczy, a trustee of the Rostoczy Foundation, told USA Today that the recipients could attend any college, whether in or out of state. Knowing that costs can change (decrease or increase) over the years, the exact amount the nonprofit will pay hasn’t been determined yet, but they aren’t planning on limiting the scholarships.
This isn’t the first time the foundation has assisted students in the Valley with college funds. The same thing happened in 2012 to approximately 80 third graders in Avondale’s Michael Anderson School.
Bernard Black Elementary is named after Rev. Dr. Bernard Black, who died in 2021. Dr. Black was a 33rd Degree Mason, a World War II Veteran, and an educator since the early 1920s.