TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The announcement caught 108 Scott High School seniors by surprise on Wednesday morning. Unlike countless others across the country, they won't have to struggle under mounting debt in order to pay for a college education.
Source: Toledo Public Schools
That's because their room, board, tuition, and fees will be paid for, in full, by Pete Kadens. The Ottawa Hills native, who now lives in Chicago, made the pledge during an assembly on Wednesday.
Kadens was the CEO of Green Thumb, a national cannabis company, before he retired at the age of 40.
"I had to come back to my hometown, the community that gave me my tools ... and give back," Kadens said. "Scott High School has been under-served for so many years."
His pledge didn't stop with the students, either. Kadens also pledged to provide funding to send one parent or legal guardian of each student to college for free as well.
"it's so exciting," Cherese Mitchell-El, mother of a Scott senior, said. "I am very blessed, I am very thankful, and I hope all the children that are the recipients of this opportunity are very thankful and blessed. I hope they give it their all."
The pledge is part of Kadens' new H.O.P.E. Toledo initiative, a philanthropic program that urges members of the community to donate to help send more students to college. According to the H.O.P.E. Toledo website, "The Class of 2020 was funded by The Kadens Family Foundation with the hope of creating a groundswell movement to ensure that all under-resourced public school children in Toledo, Ohio would have access and opportunity as it relates to post-secondary education upon high school graduation."
The website says the initiative is hoping to raise $100,000,000 to send future students to school, debt free.