For Beth Larson Traff '78 and Tim Traff '77, exceptional teaching and a strong sense of community are the hallmarks of a Blake education. These two qualities have endured from their time as Blake students to their more recent experiences as Blake parents (Thea '09 and Ford '11), as school volunteers and, for Beth, as a former member of the board of trustees.
The consistent presence of these qualities throughout the years has reinforced the value of their Blake education. Beth says attending Blake was one of the great privileges of her life. She believes that the main emphasis of an education is to produce competent and caring people, and that, she says, is the heart of what Blake does best. Tim agrees. "One of the few things you can choose for your children is where they will be educated, and the best gift you can give your child is the ability to think," he says. "Blake provided our entire family with an exceptional educational experience."
As students, Beth and Tim developed lifelong friendships with their classmates. Once their children began attending Blake, this community of friends grew to encompass parents of their children's classmates as well as parents of athletes on the various sports teams on which Thea and Ford participated. Tim emphasized the important role a school plays in a community. "It brings together a variety of people in a positive way on a daily basis," he says. These friendship bonds are cemented by the shared experiences of attending school and school events together.
The Traffs have experienced firsthand the consistent, outstanding education Blake provides and want to help ensure this opportunity exists for future generations. When they were thinking about their family's Blake legacy and what kind of long-term support they'd like to provide, they chose to name the school as one of the beneficiaries of their will. They felt it was the easiest way to make a gift because it requires no outlay of cash now but will support Blake financially in the future. According to Beth, "While the Annual Fund may be the foundation for giving at Blake, planned giving is a savings fund for the future and needs to be considered an institutional priority. It's critical to think beyond our current needs and consider future generations of Blake students."
According to Beth, "When it comes to giving, Blake will always come first," for it has influenced virtually all aspects of her family's life. The education each family member received has instilled not only knowledge but also a sense of confidence that has helped him or her lead a fulfilling life. The relationships formed have endured and continue to shape their lives. By including the school in their estate plans, the Traffs will remain connected to Blake long into the future.
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