They were going to buy a sailboat. Instead, they changed the lives of 26 kids.

Marty Burbank was going to buy a sailboat.

He and his wife, Seon Chun-Burbank, have done well. The couple were the first in their families to go to college. Now, Marty is a Navy veteran and works as an elder care attorney. Seon is a college professor. The couple love the water and even tied the knot on a yacht.

Why not enjoy the spoils of their hard work and set their sights on the high seas?


Marty Burbank and Seon Chun-Burbank on their wedding day. Image via NBC News/YouTube.

But instead of buying a boat, the Burbanks decided to invest in their community.

Through church, the couple met Tessa Ashton, a kindergarten teacher at Rio Vista Elementary who was working with a classroom of English-language learners. For the past four years, Marty has volunteered and donated supplies and money to the Anaheim, California, elementary school and its teachers.

Image via NBC News/YouTube.

After hearing a sermon about charity, they crunched the numbers, and the choice was clear.

"For the cost of buying a boat and the maintenance and the storage over the next 12 years, I can put these kids through school, and that seemed like a better investment," Burbank told local news channel FOX 11.

And that's exactly what they did.

The couple pledged to pay for two years of community college and two years at a California state university, or the equivalent amount, for all 26 of Ashton's kindergarten students.

To receive the funds, each child has to complete a drawing or essay each year about what going to college means for their future and their family.

Image via NBC News/YouTube.

The price tag for the project is around $1 million.

For the Burbanks, it means delaying retirement and sticking to dry land a little longer.

"They say give until it hurts a little, and this hurts. But we feel it's the best investment we could make," he told CNN.

The Burbanks also gave each student an Indiana University shirt. It's Ashton's alma mater, and the school that the students discuss on "College Fridays." Image via NBC News/YouTube.

For the parents and families of the students, this announcement opens a world of possibilities.

But it shouldn't have taken an extreme act of kindness to make it happen.

Despite an increase in federal student aid and school scholarships, the proportion of recent high school graduates from low-income families who enroll in post-secondary programs has dropped significantly over the last eight years.

In 2013, 45.5% of low-income students enrolled in college, as opposed to 78.5% of students from high-income families.

Image via NBC News/YouTube.

While tuition plays a role, the net price (the grand total students actually pay, think fees, supplies, tuition) at two-year schools has actually decreased over the years, and has increased modestly at four-year institutions. But the perceived cost of college may be enough to keep some students from even pursuing the option.

So while this offer is life-changing and incredibly generous, it's not a silver bullet.

Marty never intended for the story to make national, or even local news, but now that it has, he's hoping to inspire others.

While most people can't afford to send a class of students to college (cough, cough, Michael Scott), those with and without means can donate supplies, resources, and their time to support kids in need. Whether you're donating a million bucks or 30 minutes of your time, every little bit helps.

Here's to the class of 2028, now the university-graduating class of 2032!

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GIF via NBC News/YouTube.

See the kids in action and hear the Burbanks' story in this video from NBC News.

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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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

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.

Keep Reading Show less