By Bill Shields

QUINCY (CBS) – When 230 graduates of Quincy College filed into Veterans Stadium Friday for commencement exercises, none of them had a clue about what was coming their way, more than a diploma.

The commencement speaker was Rob Hale, founder and president of Granite Telecommunications. The beginning of his speech gave a clue. “If you give, I promise, in the long run you’ll be the recipient of the positive energy,” Hale said.

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Then at the end, Hale sprung a gift on the graduates: he was giving each of them $1,000. But there was a catch. Only $500 was for them. They had to use the other $500 for a charity or give it to someone in need.

A roar went up from the 230 graduates, while some looked at each other in disbelief.

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“I’m speechless,” Class Valedictorian Beatriz Martins said. “I don’t have any words to describe what emotion I feel right now.”

Another graduate said his roommate had been struggling, so he’d give the $500 to him.

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Hale said he was trying to show the graduates how charity is a positive feeling. “It does feel like it’s a great pay it forward,” said Hale. “You’ve done a wonderful thing now share that with everybody else.”

Bill Shields