A Family Affair
Photo by: Lisa Kuhnlein

Supporting schools for one Anacortes family is truly in the blood, three generations having attended Anacortes schools and graduated from Anacortes High School, with a fourth on its way currently at Mt. Erie Elementary.

Ruth Kleven, a twelve-year-old girl, arrived from Norway in 1924. She attended the one-room schoolhouse on Campbell Lake and eventually taught at the Nelson School from 1939-41, her career being interrupted by the War. Kleven eventually returned to the classroom in 1954 and finished out her career subbing for another 20 years.

Now her great grandchildren, Thomas and Mira Knowles, 5th and 2nd grade, have already begun supporting Anacortes Schools Foundation by helping parents Lara and Marcus Knowles prep and assemble hundreds of Science-to-Go kits each month.

Grandmother Linda Kleven-Braski, class of ‘61, was a bus driver in our district for 25 years. She now helps out watching the grandkids while Lara and Marcus teach full-time. Lara, in her 5th year as a Mt. Erie kindergarten teacher, also attended Mt. Erie and graduated from Anacortes High School in 1998.

Husband Marcus taught kindergarten at Whitney for three years before becoming the elementary science specialist this year. Tasked with teaching remote science to every elementary student in the district, Knowles knew he had to get materials into the hands of kids who could not otherwise conduct the class experiments.

Enter Anacortes Schools Foundation

Through a generous $20,000 grant from Marathon Petroleum and gifts from Strandberg Construction and Shell Puget Sound Refinery, plus individual donations, ASF has been able to supply 975 kits each month, making science a reality in the homes of all students from Fidalgo, Mt. Erie, and Island View.

Marcus Knowles has supported ASF as well. He taught Lego/Robotics for the summer Impact program, a program created to decrease achievement and opportunity gaps in K-3 students. He has also been seen on stage with district band Detention Hall at ASFs largest annual fundraiser Celebrate the Season.

Both Lara and Marcus recognize the benefits their own students have reaped from ASF events like Ready to Learn Fair and are grateful that the foundation helps kids in such a wide variety of ways.

As for 5th grader Thomas, he’s looking forward, not back.

“I missed the Salish Sea Adventures and Mt. School, but I’m excited about KidWind next year in 6th grade.”

Thank you, Braski-Knowles family, for supporting ASF and the district for decades.

Anacortes Schools Foundation