EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Graduation season is a time of celebration for students ending their high school careers. However, it can also be a stressful time, especially for those planning to further their education. Thanks to one Bosse High School alum, the Bulldogs class of 2022 can breathe a bit easier.

Bosse High School principal Aaron Huff says students were surprised, excited and appreciative. “The kids were speaking about it like, ‘This is great, it’s going to help me out, I don’t have to worry about books, this is some additional money to navigate college!’,” explains Principal Huff.

Students received their diplomas to find inside a note with details on how to receive this $1,000 gift. Huff says seniors were instructed to complete paperwork towards the end of the school year under the guise of thinking it was for record-keeping purposes. Unbeknownst to students, this would be their ticket to a scholarship.

“It hits a lot of different areas,” says Huff. “From motivation, encouragement, hope and belief. There’s a lot of different phrases you could use in terms of giving someone $1,000 to further their education in some way, shape or form.”

The donor is Evansville’s Thomas Ruder, a 1972 graduate of Bosse High School. Thomas runs the Thomas A. and Sharon K. Ruder Foundation with his wife, and he credits Bosse with his post-high school success, and for his ability to give back to the class of 2022.

“My senior year I had a teacher there that encouraged me to go on and enter the accounting profession, which I did,” explains Ruder. “And that led me to the investment management, investment brokerage business, which has enabled me to be extremely successful in that industry.”

Ruder says $1,000 will not pay for all of their schooling, but he hopes it will be enough of a gesture to encourage students to explore post-secondary education. The only requirement needed to receive the $1,000 is that a student must be furthering their education in some form. Both Ruder and Huff hope this gesture will spark other alumni to give back in a similar manner in the future. Ruder even states this may act as a challenge of sorts to other schools to offer some similar form of encouragement.