(left to right) Austin Beutner, Jerry Kline, Principal Elidia Vazquez, Local District NE Supt. Linda Del Cueto and Board Member Kelly Gonez.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Gerald M. “Jerry” Kline, a 1969 graduate of John H. Francis Polytechnic High School, surprised and delighted the student body of his alma mater by pledging to create a $1 million scholarship fund for graduates there.

The announcement was made Wednesday, Nov. 20, before an assembly for 200 Polytechnic High School student leaders, and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Austin Beutner in attendance.

The Gerald M. Kline Family Foundation committed to providing at least 10 Polytechnic High graduates a year with $10,000 scholarships – a four-year commitment that totals $1 million.

“I am pleased to provide assistance to the community where I grew up,” Kline said. “Sadly, only 5% of my graduating class went directly to a four-year college. It’s great that so many more Poly grads are now choosing this direction. The scholarship will enable even greater success by eliminating a financial hurdle.”

“As a Poly graduate, I know the fears and challenges that students and families deal with as they decide on their path toward college,” said Principal Elidia Vazquez, a member of the Class of 1996. “The scholarships funded through the Gerald M. Kline Family Foundation will have a tremendous impact by removing the financial obstacles our families face in the process of attaining their college degree.”

The scholarships will be given based on both financial need and academic standing to assist students who attend four-year colleges or universities outside the Los Angeles area. The awards are designed to provide support and expand opportunities for students as they move away from home to pursue their dream of higher education.

Graduates of the Class of 2020 will be the first to receive the funds. 

Kline’s pledge is among the largest ever received by a LAUSD school.

“Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed in school and in life, and it takes the support of the whole community to make this happen,” Beutner said. “Jerry Kline’s generous scholarships will help to change the lives of Poly High School graduates.”