Barb Rubin surveyed the packed atrium at Madison College’s Park Street campus. Every seat in the room was filled and over a dozen people stood in the back near the much welcome concessions on a (finally) humid May evening.
Soon, it would be time to celebrate the students who would be recipients of the Rubin For Kids scholarships for 2019. But standing in the back with well wishers and donors, Barb Rubin was proud of how far this proceeding had come. What began in her living room years ago and was a scholarship of $1,000 given to 3 promising students has now become a $1,500 award that, this year, is being received by 39 high school students who will attend Madison College.
Rubin For Kids started back in 1995 to honor the legacy of beloved juvenile public defender and juvenile justice advocate Peter Rubin. Mentorship and education were things he believed made all the difference in the lives of children. That is why the recipients of the scholarships will all be paired with an adult mentor who will help ease the transition between high school and college.
Scanning the room, Barb Rubin saw so many stories playing out all at once. A youngster who was the younger brother of one of the recipients caught her eye and she commented about how it makes all the difference for him to see his older brother going to college and what the ripple effect will be from that. She sees longtime donors who have been committed from the beginning. She sees friends, mentors, past recipients, high school teachers, college administrators and knows each of their stories.
“With these scholarships, I hope that they’re happy and living productive lives,” Rubin told Madison365. “And if they want to help other people, great. They’re showing their brothers and sisters that this is what’s possible.”
In 2017 there were 28 recipients and in 2018 there were 30. So it was quite a leap forward to give out 39 in 2019 and Rubin says it’s because there’s so many more corporate supporters who want to get involved with such a great program.
All of the scholarship recipients are ready to make good on the hard work they have done to get this far. When the kids were asked to give a show of hands indicating how many of them have already enrolled in Madison College for the Fall, nearly all of the hands went up.
Many of the scholarship award winners will be the first in their families to go to college.
“This is a wonderful opportunity that many don’t get,” Madison College President Dr. Jack Daniels told the gathering. “You’re taking a great first step and I want you to engage our college, take part in what you can in our college. I’ve been to four graduations over the past five days and one of the greatest things is when you stand there at the Alliant Energy Center and have students you saw earlier when they started and now they’re graduating.”
Some of this year’s Madison College graduates, including commencement speaker Ousman Darboe, were past recipients of awards through Rubin For Kids.
One of the advantages this year’s group will have is the presence of the new South Campus of Madison College. Over the past two years, Madison College has been in the process of building a state-of-the-art new facility off of S. Park st and on September 3, it will be open for students.
In addition to the 39 scholarship recipients for 2019, eight students who received a scholarship in 2018 had their scholarships renewed for continuing education.