Planned Giving: 1811 Society
Consider becoming a member of the 1811 Society and providing for Thornton Academy with a bequest or a gift of either money or property made through your will. Those who join understand the unique history of our school and the importance of its independent nature. Charitable gift annuities or an annuity trust allow the donor to make a gift that returns income to you and/or a family member.
Thornton Academy recently started to work with Comerica Charitable Services Group and RBC Wealth Management to make it easier than ever for donors to make meaningful gifts to the school. Comerica is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the organization was created to bring added value to nonprofits and the donors who support them. It is able to provide administrative, tax, compliance and technical support to TA’s Development Office, while RBC Wealth Management in Portland, Maine, assists with investment management and strategies.
Benefits of membership include: an annual dinner, a complimentary admission pass to TA home athletic games and performing arts events, and invitations to select receptions at the Headmaster's House.
To learn more about planned giving options, call (207) 602-4456, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep in mind that Thornton Academy does not act as legal counsel or financial advisor to donors. To join the 1811 Society, fill out the form at right and send to the Development Office at Thornton Academy 438 Main Street, Saco, Maine 04072.
His daughter Jennifer Adams remembers...
“My father, Hebron Adams, graduated from Thornton Academy and from Bowdoin where he majored in Physics. Dad was very proud of his connection to Thornton and tried to attend reunions and stay in touch with classmates whenever possible. Dad’s youngest sister, Diane Tilton Jacques, lived in Saco, and at least one of her children went to Thornton: Kevin Jacques ’90.
“He was the eldest of nine siblings (two died as babies), but he was the only one who went to Thornton. Dad’s father, who was also named Hebron, inherited a fair amount of money and property from his grandparents, but lost it all in the Great Depression, as happened to many families. The family moved a lot, as their circumstances grew harder. Dad lost his father in 1941, when he was only 11 years old.
“My father was the first one in the family to go to college. It was a struggle. He worked his way through Bowdoin by tutoring, washing dishes at his fraternity house (Alpha Tau Omega, no longer an active chapter), and working at a resort on Cape Cod in the summer time (The Pines, also no more).
“I think that Dad’s childhood — growing up in challenging financial circumstances and losing his father at age 11—made him determined to be careful with his own money and make sure that he provided for his family. He and my mother traveled a lot and he researched carefully to find good deals on flights and hotels. They liked to eat out and spent a lot of time traveling around to Virginian vineyards to taste and buy wine (we put over 100 bottles in storage when we cleaned out his house after he passed). He was thrifty, but not miserly.
“When my father finished college, he went to Westinghouse where his work related to jet engines. Then he went to Operations Research Office (ORO was a think tank run by Johns Hopkins University); while there, he was drafted into the Army, spending two years at Walter Reed. Then he returned to ORO. Much of his work there was classified, although I know he was working on computers (programming on punch cards) and researching Game Theory.
“Dad was able to get a grant to work on his doctorate in operations research (what is commonly called industrial engineering in this country) at the University of Lancaster in England. We moved there in 1966 and stayed until 1970 while he worked further with computer programming. I have vivid memories of seeing a room full of magnetic tape drives.”
Above Photo: L to R: Heather Adams Miller, Hebron Adams, Nancy Adams, Jennifer Adams. When Hebron Adams passed away in 2014, his estate generously contributed $10,000, in part, to Thornton Academy’s STEM initiative. His name now joins the list of 1811 Society members.
When Vangel Cotsis ’85 says he’s from a Thornton family, he means it. The eighth of nine siblings—all of whom are alumni—has enrolled the eldest of his four children in Thornton Academy Middle School and he and his wife are homestay parenting an 8th grader from Spain. He’s also a member of Thornton Academy’s Board of Trustees, a position he has held for nearly 15 years.
“If you asked me to describe the Board while in my twenties, it would have evoked images of the bank board in Mary Poppins—all men and a room filled with the smell of cigars. It turned out to be nothing like that. There really was a gravity about the Board, a deep history of accomplished professionals. They were the pillars of society. When you’re young, you don’t envision yourself fulfilling such a responsibility, but self-perception often doesn’t match how you’re assessed by others. Joining the Board at age 33 was quite an honor; I’m still the youngest member.
“As a Board member this year, I asked for the honor of calling retired teacher Phil Curtis to see if he would be willing to have a classroom dedicated after him and two other teachers (see p. 9). I was anxious about the call because I wanted to ensure that I properly communicated the meaning and depth of the honor to him and his colleagues. I obviously wanted to be sure he would agree. I told him, ‘You made an impression on decades of students. We want to recognize that and the school will benefit from the association with you.’ I think he was taken aback in his acceptance.
“Phil Curtis was the one with whom I made the most positive connections, academically and otherwise. I was never the student who knew early on what they wanted to be when they grew up. My educational path was unconventional. I initially put an average amount of work into school and so I got an average amount out of it, but I was involved in student government and met with Mr. Curtis frequently as my class advisor. Through Phil’s recommendation, I received an award for leadership which had a very lasting impression on me.
“I took a computer programming class my senior year with Dom DiBiase, having recognized that computers were becoming a very integral part of society, although I never could have imagined the degree to which it has evolved.
“After graduation, I enrolled at what was SMVTI in the Electronics Technology program. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but my strength was primarily in mathematics and I thought I should align myself with a technology field. It wasn’t a good fit, and so I apprenticed in the sheet metal fabrication trade for a couple of years.
“It slowed down my long-term career path, but that job taught me that a higher education was critical to realizing my full potential. By my late twenties, I had earned an Associate’s degree in Business and then a B.A. in Economics from USM, while working full time. I was drawn to finance, money management, and the world of financial markets. Then, I eventually became a private banker to affluent families. That role evolved into financial planning and investment management.
“I advised many people on estate planning over the years but realized I hadn’t done much to protect my own legacy. Life creeps up on you. I decided that I wanted to carve out a piece for Thornton Academy. Education is the lifeblood, the foundation of any community. Without knowledge, you don’t have a thriving community. What better entity to invest in than the fabric of what makes a community connected and successful? It makes giving easy. You have to believe it’s important to give.
“Some people say, ‘TA has an endowment and doesn’t need my help; or I’m not going to write a check in addition to my property taxes.’ Everyone’s personal circumstances are different and I respect that. Institutions like Thornton rely on community generosity to provide an exceptional education. If Thornton relied on its endowment, it wouldn’t last through a single year of operation. The endowment is a nest egg to be managed judiciously for many generations to come. Neither can Thornton operate solely on taxes; local tax revenues only support a basic education and can never be used for construction or renovation. Yet, the school needs to change with the times and maintain its infrastructure and the attributes that people enjoy. The long history of generosity from those who have left a personal legacy enable the school to thrive.
“I have learned the value of giving, without the expectation of getting anything in return. Volunteerism becomes a habit. You see the benefit in the rearview mirror. When you’re 20 years old, you don’t think about mortality. But as you get older, you think about what you meant in this world. You ask: what is my purpose? At Hill Stadium, when I saw my name on the donor wall there, all of a sudden it mattered to me. I thought, my kids will see this and then their kids and they will say, ‘There’s Grandpa.’ I have become more and more vested in Thornton Academy. There’s no shame in wanting to be remembered and doing it in a way that contributes to the greater good.”
by Patricia Erikson
“We’re going back a long ways here. I lived in Dayton when I was growing up. Of course, we had a one-room school for grades 1-8 and there was no high school. It was a normal thing to go to TA. Freshman year, I caught a ride to school with two brothers who had a family car. I wanted to play football. Before TA, I had never even seen a football! So, a couple of other kids and I went out for freshman football. I kind of liked it.
“In ’47, the only way I could get to school was to catch a ride with a millworker at 6 AM. My parents were dirt poor farmers with one beat-up car; there was no way I could use it. In the fall, it started getting dark early. I had no ride home. I walked to Route 5 and started walking and hitchhiking. I ran awhile, then walked the 14 miles to my house. I got home about 8 PM or so and I was starving. Same thing next day.
“There wasn’t the traffic in those days. Not a car passed me. The third day, it poured rain the whole way home. I was kind of disgusted. I couldn’t see any other way.
“I told my parents, I was going to quit school. It was normal for the eldest to help support the family in those days. They didn’t oppose it. I started work at a sawmill the next day. The next week, when I arrived home from the sawmill, a car was sitting in the yard. It was Porter C. Greene, Headmaster. ‘Raymond, I’ve been told you quit school,’ he said. ‘Yes, sir, I had no transportation. I could get there, but not home.’ ‘Do you want to go to school?’ he asked me. ‘Yes, sir,’ I said. ‘Then pack your clothes. Tell your parents and come live with my family.’
“I went from a farm with an outhouse to the Headmaster’s House. I stayed there three winters. If I had not finished school, God knows where I would be now. He influenced me.
“I graduated in ’49, went into the service (Army), got married and all the time I didn’t recall thanking the Greenes. After retirement, in 2000, I thought: I never thanked them personally. I travelled to Morrisville, VT, Porter Greene’s home town. I knew Mr. Greene had passed, but I went to the oldest person I could find and asked to find Mrs. Greene. Eventually, folks at the Senior Center sent me to Stowe, VT where Mrs. Alice Green stayed in assisted living. I drove right there and found Mrs. Greene. It had been 50 years; at first, she walked by me, then stopped, turned around, and said, ‘Raymond what are you doing here?’ I almost flipped. She said to her aid, ‘He used to steal my chocolate chip cookies.’ I finally got to thank her.”
Although in his eighties, retired Lt. Colonel Ray Shorey works as a salesman for TRC (Texas Refinery) and feeds a couple dozen deer in his back yard in Oquossoc, Maine. Ray Shorey is a member of the 1811 Society because he, along with many others, has named Thornton Academy as a beneficiary in his estate planning. This photo of Ray was taken on Reunion Day 2014 with his daughter, Susan.
This story is one in a series of Thornton Academy Alumni Profiles; you may read others online at thorntonacademy.org/alumniprofiles. Keep up-to-date with Alumni news, gatherings, and more at: thorntonacademy.org/alumni
-By Emma Deans
When Pam Roberts ‘76 first discovered Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick in her English class with Mr. Staples, she couldn’t have imagined her role as one of the readers in the nationally-prestigious annual event at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Each year, the museum hosts a 25-hour non-stop reading of Moby Dick. This is just one of the many ways Pam still feels connected to TA.
Pam joined the 1811 Society in 2003, the inaugural year for the organization. The 1811 Society recognizes alumni and friends who have committed to Thornton Academy, in perpetuity, by placing the school in their estate plans.
“When my husband and I first were filling out our wills, it was sort of automatic to include our alma maters—it just seemed like the right thing to do,” she said. Pam’s twin sister and three older siblings are all TA alumni so “there was a lot of maroon and gold in our house...Thornton was a very special place.”
Pam attended Simmons College in Boston and pursued a career in graphic design, before raising two sons and a daughter. Through her extensive volunteerism- everything from serving as PTO President to library Society volunteer - Pam understands the importance and need for external funding and resources for schools. She said, “I feel strongly about donating to programs like the arts that don’t have all costs covered by taxes or tuition dollars.”
The annual and planned giving of Pam Roberts and her family will help ensure Thornton Academy students receive the same meaningful education as she experienced.
Left to right: Pam, daughter Miranda, son Zane, husband Scott, and son Pierce.