TIPTON, Iowa - Over 70 Tipton Middle Schools students got quite a surprise Monday night at a high school preparation meeting thanks to the work of some local volunteers.
"I didn't know what to think, it's still setting in," said Zoe Rezac, an 8th grade student at Tipton Middle School. "My mom just started crying."
The announcement that brought them to tears: A $700,000 scholarship fund had been established for the future class of 2018. The fund had been in the works for nine years, yet none of the students or parents ever knew it existed.
"When it was first announced there was an audible gasp in the crowd," said superintendent Dick Grimoskas. "This will help students go to college, or trade school, or a two-year college."
The fund was started by Kevin and Sandy Gleaves, who have been volunteering at the school since the class of 2018 started kindergarten.
"They've volunteered and worked with the kids, really becoming part of their life and educational experience," Grimoskas said.
Students who have been with the class since kindergarten will receive roughly $10 thousand upon high school graduation. Student who joined the class will receive an amount based on their time in the district.
"[The Gleaves] just want to pay it forward with these kids, they want them to pursue their dreams," said Tipton Middle School principal Sue O'Donnell.
Rockwell Collins also contributed a significant amount of money to the fund. Other donors included Harvey Diehl (in memory of Time Haven Bates III), Maryann and Clarence Frazer, Dan Sipper, Lori Musland Sipper as well as an anonymous donor.