Former 5th Graders Remember Abe Pollin

12:05 AM, Nov 25, 2009   |    comments
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UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WUSA) -- We may all know Abe Pollin's vision when he built the Verizon Center, but what about a small office along Main Street in Upper Marlboro, Maryland?

Pollin had a hand in it too, indirectly.

Tiffany Alston points to her 5th grade picture.  She knew back then what she wanted to be when she grew up. "I always wanted to be an attorney ever since I was I was 5 years old."

Little did she know a complete stranger would help her realize her dream. Her entire Seat Pleasant Elementary 5th grade class attended an assembly, and she knew after the two men finished talking something big just happened.


Alston says, "This man randomly says he's going to pay for college.  It didn't really settle in. I saw all the parents crying." 

Pollin had announced he was donating more than $300,000 to the "I Have A Dream" foundation so the entire 5th grade class of Seat Pleasant Elementary could go to college on his dime if they graduated high school.

Fast forward 21 years: Tiffany Alston owns her own law firm in Upper Marlboro and has Pollin to thank. 

Alston says, "I hope we've made him proud. I hope we've made an investment on his return." 

Alston's school had a 50% drop out rate before Pollin came into the picture.

Forty-nine out of fifty-nine of Alston's classmates graduated high school. Thirty-nine went on to college.

Pollin kept on giving throughout the children's lives.  He invited them to games, concerts and meals.  Some of Alston's classmates are still in college and Pollin's generosity is still paying for it.


Written by Surae Chinn

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