Saturday’s Rainier Education Foundation fundraiser raised $91,000, which will go toward high school seniors and returning college students scholarships, as well as financial assistance to school staff and teachers.
The majority of the money came from a single donation by JZ Knight of $50,000. Knight channels the 35,000-year-old Lumurian warlord Ramtha who fought the Atlanteans. Knight also presides over Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment, located just west of Yelm city limits.
The other donations came from both silent and live auctions and other activities such as a dessert dash Saturday night. Top selling items included a Weyerhaeuser permit sold for $1,050, a barbecue for 30 by State Farm agent Steele Clayton for $800, and a cedar arbor bench built by Rainier wood shop students for $800.
Susanne Miller, president of the Rainier Education Foundation, said the barbecue dinner at the auction cooked by Clayton “was fabulous,” the dessert dash “a highlight,” and the alumni speech “brought tears to the audience.” Miller also thanked auctioneer Larry Schorno for his donation of time and talent, as well as the many community donors and volunteers who helped with the fundraiser.
“The frosting on the cake was the donation from JZ Knight,” Miller said. “There are no words to express my thanks to her for this generous donation — the largest ever in REF’s history. JZ and our other donors prove that they believe in investing in our society’s future, creating an informed and educated society. A generous donation such as JZ’s helps our youth reach their dreams for the future.”
Knight said it is wise to invest in our students.
“There is nothing greater we can do for the future of our communities than to help young people gain knowledge and broad experience beyond the community,” Knight said. “Exposure to other cultures, other perspectives, and other understandings about the greater world enriches everyone who is willing to step out into that larger reality. Just like Bilbo Baggins who left the Shire for an adventure, our young folks will return home one day rich with treasures to share.”
The JZ Knight Humanities Foundation also provides college scholarships to high school seniors.
Alex Miller, the daughter of Susanne Miller, was the featured alumni speaker Saturday evening.
She graduated from Rainier High School as Valedictorian of the class of 2011, and spent all four years of high school volunteering with the Rainier Education Foundation, and received a scholarship from the foundation her senior year.
“My path to college was rocky — originally, I intended to attend WSU, comfortable knowing that the Washington State Scholar program would cover my tuition expenses,” Alex Miller said. “However, that was the year that the program was discontinued due to state budget cuts, and I very suddenly found myself without college funding. I instead attended Centralia College, receiving a full-ride scholarship due to my Valedictorian status.”
Her REF scholarship helped pay for additional costs such as books and student fees.
“One thing that makes REF unique is that they not only dole out sizeable scholarships to seniors, but continue to offer renewal scholarships for the other three years of college,” Alex Miller said. “After transferring to Pacific Lutheran University to pursue my bachelor’s degree, I was once again fortunate to receive those renewals each year. Looking back, REF saved me thousands of dollars, and I am so incredibly grateful for their generosity and support.”
Alex Miller said REF made a major impact in her life.
“It sounds cheesy, but what those volunteers are doing — supporting aspiring high school seniors to finance their ambitions to pursue paths of higher education — that is commendable. They are quite literally financing dreams, and everyone who was generous enough to either donate or spend their hard-earned money at the annual REF auction plays a major role in that as well.”
With last week’s total added in, the Rainier Education Foundation has raised more than $831,000 in the past 18 years, with revenue awarded to scholarships to Rainier seniors who have graduated and gone on to higher education; in renewal scholarships to Rainier alumni who received a scholarship when they graduated; and teacher/staff grants to enhance the learning experience in the Rainier School District from preschool through high school.
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