Donor Spotlight

+ Meet Legacy Society Member Suzanne Sharer

Suaznne Sharer is an Arlington High School graduate, a proud High School District 214 retiree, a lifelong Arlington Heights resident and an active volunteer with the District 214 Education Foundation, helping plan major alumni events.

She's also building a legacy.

Through a bequest in their will, Suzanne and her husband, Steve -- a regular at the Foundation's Golf Open -- recently became the inaugural members of the Foundation's Legacy Society, building the promise of future funding for success.

"This District has given so much to me," Suzanne told the Foundation Board at a meeting in March. "This was such a wonderful way to give back. It made sense. I am able to make a pledge now that will help District 214's future."

The Legacy Society empowers individuals to include gifts to the Foundation in a will or trust. Bequests can be unrestricted, or directed to a specific purpose; you also can indicate a specific amount or a percentage or your remaining balance. Benefits of this type of giving are numerous. Your assets remain in your control during your lifetime; you can modify your gift at any point; you can direct your gift to an area that is particularly meaningful to you; and, under current tax law, there is no upper limit on the estate tax deduction for your charitable bequests.

To learn more, contact the Foundation Office at 847-718-7708. If you already have included the Foundation in your will, please let us know by calling that same number. You also may email Dawn Curran at the Foundation: dawn.curran@d214.org

+ Donor Spotlight: Anonymous Retiree

An educator who spent 32 years teaching in High School District 214 was so compelled by the impact of the District 214 Education Foundation that he gave back -- significantly.

In spring 2018, he provided $15,000 in funding to the Foundation's general fund, for use in supporting student success, innovation and lifelong learning beyond the limitations of conventional funding for public education. The money came from a family foundation launched after his parent's death; his goal always was to impact the community using those funds.

"We realize not everyone has been as fortunate as us," said the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, "and we want to help students with financial needs to achieve their goals in life.”

He specifically appreciates the Foundation's funding of Advanced Placement tests for students who can't afford them, opening the door to thousands of dollars in early college credits. He says he knows the importance of such testing to helping students achieve postsecondary success.

In addition to his years working in the school district, the retiree is involved as an active member of District 214 Education Foundation committees. He has been able to watch and live the Foundation's mission, see it grow and see the funds positively impact student lives.

“We like that the Foundation can help students achieve their life goals," he said. "We hope to contribute to the future development of District 214 students as they pursue their dreams.” There are many opportunities for students, he notes, that come from a little encouragement, the knowledge that someone believes in them, and the funding to make a dream happen.

He considers he gives part of his civic duty - but, as importantly, an investment both in District 214 students and in the entire community in a time when one in four students live in poverty. He urges others to take a closer look at the Foundation and consider a contribution.

"You will see the kinds of great things they are doing for our students," he says. "And hopefully, their success stories will resonate and prompt others to follow the example of giving."

+ Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Carla Koretsky, Wheeling High School Class of '89 and Wheeling High School Distinguished Alumna, 2010

From performing as lead violinist of the Wheeling High School orchestra to pursuing a career that eventually led her to a position as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Michigan University, Dr. Carla Koretsky has embodied the spirit of District 214.

Her combined passion for music and earth studies led her to achieve unprecedented accomplishments, and that success grew out of her initial years at Wheeling, where teachers and fellow students fostered her future career as an educator and influencer.

As a result, Carla, along with other alumni from Wheeling's Class of 1989, has created a campaign to give back to current students. Here, she reflects on what brought her to her position at Western Michigan University and her plans for the “30 for 30th” campaign.

Describe your involvement as a student at Wheeling High School.

I played the violin in orchestra for four years, and was in Strolling Strings for three years. I also was in the District 214 orchestra for two years and played in the pit orchestra for a couple of musical theater productions.

How did your experiences from Wheeling shape your college career?

I was interested in chemistry from my terrific experiences with Mr. “Fish” Fischbach and Mr. Bauder, who taught an amazing AP chemistry course. They definitely influenced my choice of major and also my career, which has been in geochemistry (chemistry applied to earth/environmental systems).

Describe your path to becoming a professor and a Dean of Arts and Sciences.

After I completed my Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins, I moved to Atlanta to take a postdoctoral position at Georgia Tech. I worked there for about three years, doing research in salt marsh systems off the coast of Georgia. Two years ago, I took a position as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Michigan, home to 26 departments in the humanities, social sciences and sciences. We have about 5,000 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students enrolled.

Tell us about your plans for the $30K for 30th Reunion campaign.

Several members of the Class of ’89 have talked about making a gift for a long time, and I think now the time is right. Many of us had an exceptional experience at Wheeling High School, both in and out of the classroom, and many have had very successful careers. We want to give back now and help other students have the means to get the same education and experience we did. We are in a ‘quiet’ phase now, looking for a few alumni from our class to pledge matching funds for the campaign. Once we have that in place, we will do our best through social networks to raise the $30K needed for an endowment before our 30th reunion this coming fall.

I am really looking forward to fully launching the campaign!

How do you hope this endowment will impact the students of District 214?

We are writing an agreement through the District 214 Education Foundation dictating that the funds be used to support things like Advanced Placement test fees as well as costs associated with participation on co-curricular/extracurricular activities like music, theater, athletics, Science Olympiad and other student groups that were such an important part of our experience. My AP classes were exceptional, and I was happy to see that the Education Foundation is paying for AP test fees for students with financial need. From my work as a higher education administrator, I know how expensive college is and how much having AP credit can help undergraduate students to complete their degrees more quickly and at less expense. I don’t want an AP test fee to be a barrier for any student who has worked hard and gained the skills.

The District 214 Education Foundation, www.214foundation.org, empowers giving from alumni, individuals and corporations in ways that will fund the future for our current students. To learn more or discuss opportunities to give, visit the website or email erin.brooks@d214.org.