LUCK, Wis. - Few would question the generosity of a man who promised to pick up the cost of a two-year degree for an entire high school class.
There should be no doubts now, after businessman Dennis Frandsen extended the same offer to each and every student of the 2019 graduating class in Luck, Wisconsin.
The Luck Public Schools confirmed for KARE 11 that that Frandsen -- a self-made success who now has 35 branches of Frandsen Bank and Trust in communities across Minnesota and Wisconsin -- offered to pay for two years of technical college for all of Luck's 34 prospective graduates this year. A planning meeting to explain to parents how the program will work will be held in October.
Luck Public Schools Superintendent Cory Hinkel told the students about Frandsen's generous gesture during an assembly Tuesday on the first day of school. "The look on the kids' faces was priceless," Hinkel recalled. "I really think this is going to make a huge impact on a lot of our kids' lives."
Frandsen tells KARE 11 he was born in Luck and spent a year going to high school in the town before transferring to nearby Frederic because the bus routes were better. He maintains his roots in the community, having purchased the farmstead his father once owned and opening a bank branch in Luck as well.
The successful businessman says he regularly attends high school graduations and noted that nearly all the scholarships go to the very top students in each class. Frandsen decided it would be his mission to spread the wealth... and opportunity... around a bit.
"What about the average students?" he asks hypothetically, noting he was an average high school student at best. "Are we just going to forget about them?"
Last year KARE 11's Boyd Huppert profiled Frandsen after he made the same offer to the 59-member graduating class at Rush City High School. “I thought it was the right thing to do,” Frandsen told Boyd in the installment of "Land of 10,000 Stories." “I was able to do it and why shouldn't I.” In fact, Frandsen decided he would make the same two-year scholarship offer to Rush City's class of 2019 as well.
Luck superintendent Hinkel thinks the gesture is far more reaching than Frandsen's modesty would allow him to admit. In a small community where not all families and students have the resources to easily pursue higher education, the promise of two years of tuition is huge.
"This just opens up doors for those whose doors may have been closed a little harder," Hinkel says.
Frandsen created "The Frandsen Family Foundation" to pay college tuition for kids in small towns.
He says he will again pay for the college tuition of seniors at Rush City.