One of the most important issues to former Mayor Thomas Menino was education, so he started the Menino Scholars Program at Boston University help all kids have access to quality schools and a path to college.

Two dozen high school seniors got their full college tuition paid for thanks to the Thomas M. Menino Scholarship. The scholarship to Boston University is for students graduating from Boston Public Schools.

“He was really joyous, I mean, just so joyful and engaged and funny and it really did ease our transition into college,” said scholarship recipient Nakia Ellies.

When these scholarship recipients were born, Menino was already mayor. When they started college he was still mayor and it’s no surprise, growing up, they all knew Menino in one way or another.

“I remember even since elementary school, taking MCAS, we always had pencils with his name on it, so we were always aware of his presence and what he did for our community,” said Boston University sophomore Amina Egal.

 Even though they’re still teenagers, they say Mayor Menino has already had a profound impact on their lives.

“I see him more as a mentor or even a grandfather rather than someone who served as mayor, because he was so personable and so involved,” Ellies said. “I’m aware of how I got here and with that acknowledgement and realization I want to pay it forward”

After leaving office in January, the mayor joined BU as a co-director of the Initiative on Cities. The political science department released a statement thanking him for a enthusiasm while he was at the university and thanking him for sharing his knowledge and experience with students while he was in the classroom, or over pizza.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox