BACKGROUND: Last fall, The Times visited with a group of high school students who, four years earlier, had received pledges of college scholarships from the I Have a Dream Foundation. The philanthropic group has offered four-year, $4,000 scholarships to 475 students, from the fifth grade up, hoping to encourage them to stay in school.
UPDATE: Offering college scholarships to second-graders may seem premature, but not to the foundation.
This month, the group will make offers to more than 80 second- through fifth-graders at a Pasadena school.
"The other kids we got (when most of them were in) seventh grade," says Myrtle Middleton, foundation executive director. "We learned that (many are set in their ways and) we have to start earlier. . . .
"(With the younger kids) we should be able to see a remarkable difference. . . . We're able to mold them. They are still curious and want to learn everything."
The winners and their school will be announced Jan. 22, Middleton says. They will be sponsored by the H. N. and Frances Berger Foundation of Arcadia.
Project coordinators at the foundation say they will try to focus the students' priorities immediately.
"The time when they are young is the time to set expectations," Middleton says.