The superintendent of a Georgia public school system is donating his $10,000 bonus to help high school seniors in his district pay their college application fees.
Grant Rivera, 44, has been the superintendent of Marietta City Schools, where he oversees approximately 8,900 students and 1,200 employees across 11 schools, since 2017.
When he was given his contract, he requested that any bonus he received be repurposed to benefit students. He then began working with the college adviser and scholarship coordinator at Marietta High School to find the best way the funds could support college access.
"When a student applies to college early action or early decision, we know that a student has greater opportunity for both college acceptance and financial aid," Rivera wrote in an email. "I want to leverage my bonus to motivate and support students who might not otherwise have the opportunity for college access."
Rivera earned the $10,000 bonus check last fall after his first full year as superintendent. However, in addition to helping students, he wanted to make a value statement to his staffers.
"Our success as a district and my subsequent bonus was a collective effort," he said. "As such, this does not go into the wallet of the superintendent; it gets invested into the future of our children."
Any remaining funds will fund bus tours for Marietta High students to visit in-state colleges. And if the application costs exceed $10,000, Rivera is committed to paying the rest with his own money, as he says he has no intention of denying this opportunity for his seniors.
"I truly hope that our seniors are excited and motivated to apply early and take advantage of the opportunities they have," Rivera said. "I want them to believe in themselves as much as we believe in them."