Dr. Robert Allen, Chairman, Tangelo Park Program [00:00:01] I was assigned to be principal at Tangelo Park Elementary School somewhere around 1991. When I got there, we had a school that was highly underserved. We had low school attendance. We’re looking at the dropout rate was pretty high and the school was an F to D school at the time when I arrived.
Mr. Rosen came out to visit me when he indicated that he was interested in establishing a program in the community providing free scholarships for students.
Frank Santos, CFO, Rosen Hotels & Resorts [00:00:38] Harris leaves a very simple lifestyle, doesn’t go on vacation, doesn’t have expensive cars or homes. But I would tell you that Harris is driven, his business is driven so that he can help others.
Dr. Robert Allen, Chairman, Tangelo Park Program [00:00:54] He wanted us to develop the program that fits best for our community.
Dr. Chuck Dzubian, Director, Research Initiative for Teaching Effectiveness, UCF [00:01:01] All decisions are made once a month in a community board meeting. He comes to every one.
Dr. Robert Allen, Chairman, Tangelo Park Program [00:01:08] I think he may have missed one meeting out of these twenty five years.
Dr. Chuck Dzubian, Director, Research Initiative for Teaching Effectiveness, UCF [00:01:12] It’s one thing to donate money and walk away. But he understood that this must be done long term in a community for an extended period of time.
Dr. Robert Allen, Chairman, Tangelo Park Program [00:01:22] We had a guy, Lance Lochner, an economist, said that the investment into our kids are seven to one. So for every dollar we put in we would receive seven back.
Dr. Chuck Dzubian, Director, Research Initiative for Teaching Effectiveness, UCF [00:01:34] It was the new kind of philanthropy, the kind of philanthropy that stays the course.
And talking to people in Orange County schools, they said, actually, Harris, you need a more comprehensive program. You need to begin with preschool because preschool is the prime start for young people in college and getting a college education.
Samijah Butler, Rollins Rosen Scholarship Recipient [00:01:56] So I’ve been living in Tangelo for almost 20 years now. My entire life growing up, I was involved within the two year old program. And then my senior year, I got the Rosen Rawlins Scholarship.
Akheem Mitchell, Rollins Rosen Scholarship Recipient [00:02:11] I’ve been involved in the Tangelo Park program since I was two years old. Throughout high school, I was involved with it because it allowed me to get the Rollins and Rosen scholarship.
Samijah Butler, Rollins Rosen Scholarship Recipient [00:02:21] To get that scholarship, it was kind of overwhelming. It’s changed my life because from this scholarship, so many doors have opened for me. Growing up, our neighborhood was pretty rough and you saw a lot of violence out here.
Akheem Mitchell, Rollins Rosen Scholarship Recipient [00:02:37] And it’s hard to get out of negative in that things. But when Mr. Rosas stepped in, it gave us hope for a brighter future. It gave us hope that we could actually become successful. We can chase our dreams.
Samijah Butler, Rollins Rosen Scholarship Recipient [00:02:48] Oftentimes in communities like mine, you don’t really feel as if, you know, they’re worthy enough to go and pursue these type of degrees at elite schools such as Rollins.And it’s possible. But because, you know, we come from somewhere that was so below the radar, the hope isn’t there.
And so for someone like Mr. Rosen to come in and build back up that hope, a “thank you” wouldn’t do him justice. I feel as if he does so much and doesn’t really look for anything in return. This opportunity and this blessing, you know, it allows me to pursue a career where I can go and eventually do the same thing that he’s doing to other youth in other communities.
Akheem Mitchell, Rollins Rosen Scholarship Recipient [00:03:37] It’s kind of hard because he’s been doing things outside of my life without me personally knowing him. So just to be in the presence of him in order to thank him, it’s like it’s overwhelming because how could someone care or love someone so much, without even personally knowing them or knowing what they’ve been through or knowing their history?
The only thing I can really say to him, I would probably just give him a hug and tell him thank you for changing my life.
Dr. Robert Allen, Chairman, Tangelo Park Program [00:04:08] What this program has done is, is given the community hope. Giving them hope. Because of that enthusiasm for the program and willingness to succeed, the kids now are getting to understand that they can be anything they wanted to be.