Blue collar Iowa carpenter used his secret fortune to send 33 strangers to college
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With the cost of college rising every year, access to higher education is a privilege few can afford.

The average price of a four-year in-state university in the 2018-2019 academic year, including tuition, fees, room, and board, is $21,370, and $37,430 for those who attend an out of state school. If you're looking to study at a private institution, that cost is $48,510, according to CollegeBoard. Those who do attend often leave with a burden of debt, which was around $37,172 in 2017, Debt.org reports.

While these exorbitant prices are the reason many students can't attend college, one man in Iowa made sure 33 people in his home state could get a higher education, debt-free.

Dale Schroeder, a carpenter from Ames who worked at the same company for 67 years, went to his lawyer and friend, Steve Nielsen, before he died in 2005 with specific instructions to use his money to help send small-town local students to college.

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"He wanted to help kids that were like him, that probably wouldn't have an opportunity to go to college but for his gift," Nielsen told CBS News.

Schroeder, whom Nielsen describes as a "blue collar, lunch pail kind of guy" with only two pair of jeans, had enough money saved up to make a real impact.

"Finally, I was curious and I said, 'How much are we talking about, Dale?' And he said, 'Oh, just shy of $3 million.' I nearly fell out of my chair," Nielsen said.

RELATED: Some college students can't afford dorm room basics. These moms are stepping up to help.

With no descendants, Schroeder's secret fortune was enough to send 33 Iowans to college.

Kira Conard, one of the people selected to receive tuition money from Schroeder, was about to announce to her friends and family she wouldn't be attending college because she couldn't afford it.

"I grew up in a single parent household and I had three older sisters, so paying for all four of us was never an option," she told CBS News.

Conrad had dreams of becoming a therapist, but knew she didn't have the means to cover the cost.

"[It] almost made me feel powerless. Like, I want to do this. I have this goal, but I can't get there just because of the financial part," she said.

RELATED: The elite college admissions scandal exposes the inequities in our supposed 'meritocracy.'

But then she received a phone call that changed her life when Nielsen called and told her about Schroeder's money. "I broke down into tears immediately," Conrad said. "For a man that would never meet me, to give me basically a full ride to college, that's incredible. That doesn't happen."

The 33 people, now doctors, teachers, therapists who call themselves "Dale's Kids," met up recently to honor the man who helped make their dreams come true.

"Dale would be extremely proud,"Nielsen told WSFA.

The only thing Schroeder wanted in return? "All we ask is that you pay it forward," Nielsen said. "You can't pay it back, because Dale is gone, but you can remember him and you can emulate him."

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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