Friday, December 2, 2011
Stetson reaches out to family featured on "60 Minutes"
Dozens of Stetson University students, employees, alumni and top administrators did a double-take this week while watching a 60 Minutes television special about central Florida families who have fallen on hard times and are living in their cars.
One of the main subjects of the story – 15-year-old Arielle Metzger – was wearing a green and gray Stetson T-shirt during her interview. The Seminole County teenager, who lives in a truck with her brother Austin, 13, and father Tom, talked about how important education is to the family and how she wants to become a lawyer to help children and homeless people.
The Stetson community immediately felt as if Arielle was one of their own.
With both Arielle and Austin speaking so sincerely and eloquently about the transformative nature of education and the importance of that to them, Stetson has decided to guarantee the brother and sister a financial aid package to cover the full cost of attending the university. A university financial aid counselor will work with them to assist in planning for their education.
“Stetson has a significant commitment to first-generation college students, a long history of values-based education, a tradition in service learning, a College of Law ranked No.1 in the nation for trial advocacy by U.S. News & World Report, and is 25 miles from Seminole County, Fla.,” said President Wendy B. Libby.
“For these reasons, we see ourselves as an excellent fit for Arielle and her brother Austin’s continued education,” Libby said. “As an undergraduate at Stetson, Arielle in particular could participate in our Pre-Law Institute, allowing her unique insight into the legal profession.”
Further, to help guide these aspiring college students, three Stetson undergraduate students from Stetson’s Bonner Scholars Program will reach out to Arielle and Austin as mentors as they navigate life and conclude their public school education. The Bonner program is a prestigious national program dedicated to opening access to education for all students who are seeking an opportunity to “serve,” and Stetson is the only Bonner school in Florida.
In the meantime, the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority at Stetson is raising funds to help support some of the immediate needs of the Metzger family.
“Stetson University is always seeking students who ‘dare to be significant,’” Libby said. “These two young people certainly meet that criterion.”
University officials got in touch with Beth Davalos, who runs the Families in Transition Programs for Seminole County Public Schools and figured prominently in the 60 Minutes segment. Davalos said Friday morning that she had informed the Metzger family of Stetson’s offer and, “they’re very excited.”
Note: The 60 Minutes special featuring the Metzger family can be viewed at:http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57330802/hard-times-generation-families-living-in-cars/?tag=contentMain;cbsCarousel.