Full text of ‘Scott’s Tots’ article
Local Businessman Pledges College Tuition to Third Graders
BY RANDY SHEMANSKI
THE SCRANTON TIMES
SCRANTON — This year’s “Career Week” at Daniel J. Flood Elementary was not just the customary gathering of community professionals talking about their line of work and offering guidance to spry youngsters. Local employees and business owners were in attendance, and several speeches were given. But one person outshone the rest by offering much more than a mere presentation about his career. Michael G. Scott, Regional Manager at Dunder Mifflin, is a modest guy who likes to wear jeans, cherishes his “World’s Best Boss” mug, and lacks a college education. He thought about playing for the NHL, but decided against it because he wanted to settle down with a family. And although he may not have that family yet, he has offered his leadership and his pocketbook to 15 third graders with dreams of going to college someday — something Scott never had the chance to do.
“I’ve fallen in love with these cherubs, and I don’t want them to become victims of the system,” Scott said. “I told them if they graduated high school, I would pay for their college educations.” “Scott’s Tot’s” may have been a program started impulsively, but Scott doesn’t regret it. “Just seeing the sunshine spurting out of the kids’ and parents’ faces,” he said, “is enough for me to keep the program going for years. I bet if colleges saw that, they’d let them in for free. Hmm, maybe I should make some phone calls.”
Talib Johnson, a student in Alice Kay’s class, has dreams of becoming a doctor. Talib’s mother has already been trying to save for the daunting $120,000 dollar cost of medical school, and she was not sure if it would ever be a reality. But now that Scott has offered to pick up the tab, Mrs. Johnson said that Talib would undoubtedly be going to an Ivy League university. Scott was impressed, but encouraged Talib to consider the paper business.
Mikela Lasker has aspirations of becoming a veterinarian. “I really love science and animals, and I want to take care of sick ones,” she said. Just like Talib’s mother, Mikela’s parents were concerned about the high price of veterinary school. “She’s got to get a bachelor’s degree first, and then go on to vet school,” Mr. Lasker said. “Her mother and I have tried to save, but we both really enjoy drinking Italian wine, and that takes a huge chunk out of our weekly income.”
But now, thanks to Scott, the Laskers can continue to indulge in spirits, carefree. Scott was very surprised to learn that Mikela’s veterinary degree would have to be earned separately from her undergraduate degree. When asked if he would be willing to foot the bill for postgraduate education as well, Scott at first seemed hesitant, but then replied with, “Sure, what the hell.”