Retired teacher donates $100,000

More than 16 years since retiring from the Oak Harbor School District, Loren Kraetz is still making a difference in students’ lives.

Rather than in the classroom, this time he’s helping them with his checkbook.

He donated $100,000 to the Oak Harbor Education Foundation. That money will go into an endowment that will fund scholarships for students interested in pursuing a career in education.

“The Oak Harbor schools were always good to me, so it’s a payback,” Kraetz said.

He spent decades teaching mostly fifth-grade at Oak Harbor Elementary School. He started working for the school district in 1959 and retired in 1990. Because he often taught students from Navy families, he would often wonder what would happen to them when they move away.

He got a pleasant surprise on New Year’s Day when a student he had taught in 1963 called him up to see if he remembered him. Kraetz said he was pleased to see how successful the student had become.

Once he retired from teaching, he moved to Arlington, where he owns a farm. He attributed his ability to make such a donation to his knack for saving and investing his money. When he started teaching in Oak Harbor, he earned $268 a month.

The Oak Harbor Education Foundation isn’t the only place where Kraetz is donating money. He also made donations to the Arlington School District and also provided money for its performing arts center.

Kathy Jones, treasurer for the Oak Harbor Education Foundation, said the donation will be placed in an endowment and the earnings from those investments will go toward scholarships. Those scholarships will be doled out in $1,000 increments.

“This was a huge boost to our ability to continue funding those,” Jones said.

She said the foundation already has a nice endowment to fund scholarships for students going into vocational and technical fields.

The Oak Harbor Education Association gave $44,800 in scholarships to graduating seniors last year. In addition, the foundation gave out $17,400 in applied learning grants to fund academic programs in the schools.

The foundation also helped raise nearly $27,000 for Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

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