TENINO, Thurston County — A 1938 Tenino High School graduate has donated $200,000 to the Tenino School District and has designated another $1 million in his will to be given to the school upon his passing, according to Superintendent Russ Pickett.
The graduate, a 93-year-old man who currently lives in Fairbanks, Alaska, wishes to remain anonymous, Pickett said.
Per the donor’s wishes, Tenino used the $200,000 to bolster its music and vocational programs.
“The donation allowed the band to purchase instruments that are more expensive, ones that many students can’t afford — oboes, bassoons, timpanis,” Pickett said. “We’re able to expand the offerings for the kids.”
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Vocational-program educators used their share of the money to, among other projects, build a new greenhouse. Approximately 70 percent of Tenino students will take at least one vocational course.
According to Pickett, the anonymous donor declined the school’s offer to name its new greenhouse in his honor.
“He was not interested in that at all,” the superintendent said.
According to Pickett, Tenino’s benefactor made his money mining gold in Alaska.
Though he has not lived in Washington since the 1940s, the gentleman has “very fond memories of the vocational program and the school,” Pickett said.
How Tenino will use the $1 million, earmarked for the school in the man’s will, is still up in the air, he added.
“I find it very encouraging that someone has such long-held, positive feelings about our community,” the superintendent said, “and that he wants to share with us.”
“We were very happy to have it,” Pickett said.