Scholarship committee helping kindergartners save for college in principal’s memory

One group wants to help you start saving for when your child graduates, and a former principal is posthumously helping make that happen.

Every kindergartner at Jefferson Elementary School in Johnston City, Illinois, has his or her own reasons for coming to class.

"Playing with my friends," said 6-year-old Kace Grant.

"Everything," said 5-year-old Dakota Musgrave.

"Pretty much recess," said 6-year-old Elijah Abbott.

"Recess," said 6-year-old Nadyah Clark.

They all love school, and the prospect of first grade. At the kindergarten graduation Monday, it was clear the kids are thinking more short-term. They all say they hadn’t thought about college, though a few thought they’d maybe want to go.

"I don’t know. college is like, I don’t know how many years more," Elijah said.

Marleis Trover with the Joe Castrale Scholarship Committee says she grew up around this school, as did retired principal Joe Castrale before he passed away in 2015. In Castrale’s memory, the committee is hoping to give kids a jump start on saving so they get excited about going to college now. She says it’s important they grow up knowing it’s a possibility.

"I think the whole idea of expecting to go and being connected to a college is significant," Trover said.

Trover says it’s what motivated them to give the 63 kindergartners graduating Monday a head start: a small gift of $10 toward starting a college savings account through Southern Illinois Bank. She says it’s not much, but now relatives, parents, and the kids have a place to put their pennies while they save up for school.

While kids may know what they want to be when they grow up, Trover says the committee hopes this inspires them go to school for it.

The Joe Castrale Scholarship Committee says they’re hoping to make this something they can provide for every generation of kindergarteners in the area. They say they’ve already gotten started on next year’s scholarships.

For more information, email or Donations can be mailed to Southern Illinois Bank at P.O. Box 159 in Johnston City, Illinois. 

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