I’m not sure what part of being on the Lake Oswego School Board I enjoy more, handing out diplomas to euphoric graduating seniors or receiving calls in March and April from proud parents or students with the exciting news that they have been admitted to college. Barman

The excitement of graduation and moving on to college is a special moment for every family.a

These two separate, but monumental events are a culmination of 12 years of dedication and hard work by students, moms and dads, grandparents, teachers, counselors, principals, classroom assistants and our community.

If you sat down with any graduating senior (he or she) would be the first to tell you that they wouldn’t have been successful without the support of our entire community. Each year, our citizens have shown their support for our students by voting for a local option and generously donating to our school foundation. This has allowed our district to hire teachers, keep small class sizes and provide extra electives that have enriched every graduate. When the students from the class of 2014 walk across the stage to accept their diplomas, they can be thankful for the millions of dollars that were donated to help achieve their goals.

I specifically remember when our twin sons, Chris and Ryan, were in a 5th-6th blended class at Palisades Elementary. Each 5/6 classroom was slated to have 31 students, but due to the generosity of the community, our school was able to hire Rose Freeman and lower each class size to approximately 24 to 25 students. I personally would like to thank all of the donors that made that possible in the spring of 2006. The additional teacher made an impact on every child in that grade level. The teachers had the extra time to work with students and give them the necessary attention they deserved.

This is just one example of our school foundation’s success. Every day I talk to parents whose children are succeeding and benefiting from our wonderful teachers, classified staff and administrators. I’ve also heard from many students who are in college and happy to report that they were well prepared for the rigor. Our society is also benefiting when our educated students enter the work force. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Another way to make an impact in our community is by giving a gift to the foundation’s endowment. The endowment is the ultimate gift, because the permanent account accrues interest and is currently the largest single contributor to our foundation. The endowment will continue to benefit future students for as long as we have a school system. You can also leave a gift to the endowment through estate planning. I understand that every family may not have extra resources to donate estate dollars to the endowment, but many do. By building an endowment for our students, you’re investing in the future of our society. If we don’t have a great K-12 system we will not have great candidates for our awesome universities. This is where it all begins; the gift that keeps on giving.

Bob Barman, Lake Oswego, is a member of the Lake Oswego School Board.

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