‘From first grade to first job’: Foundation surprises first graders, families with promise of ongoing support, college scholarships

Milwaukee developer Barry Mandel stood before the graduating class of kindergarteners and their families at Milwaukee Academy of Science and asked them to close their eyes.

“I want you to go ahead and dream,” said Mandel, a national board member of the “I Have A Dream” Foundation. “Dream about something you want to do. I want you to put your mind to it. And then, I want to tell you we’re going to do everything we can to help you accomplish those dreams.”

Moments earlier, “I Have A Dream” Foundation Milwaukee board chairwoman Margaret Henningsen announced that 95 of these students — the entire Academy incoming first grade class — have been selected as the next cohort of “Dreamers.” They are promised up to a $10,000 college scholarship if they remain at the Academy through 12th grade. The scholarship can be put toward any 4-year, 2-year or trade school degree of the student’s choosing.

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