TALF’s History of Donations to Thornton High School

Nine Years of Service…and Counting

This Brief History shows both what we Thornton alumni and our supporters have accomplished so far, and how much more we can accomplish in the future!

(This article was originally published in the December 2012 TALF Newsletter.)


This is what TALF and all of us in the alumni community have done since 2004:

  • Raised $800,000
  • Awards: $155,000
  • Endowment: $300,000


Formed Steering Committee of Alumni from seven decades. Goal: raise $1 million endowment with 20-30% for current needs and 70-80% to endowment. Kick off Events: Alumni basketball game and “PX,” Homecoming gathering, First Annual Golf Outing. Built alumni database and Web site.


Raised $100,000 gross/$50,000 net from Tom Dreesen Benefit and silent auction. Over 1,000 alumni/friends attended. Fred Furth, ’52, trial attorney and owner of Chalk Hill Winery, was a $10,000 Dreesen sponsor and pledged $50,000 when endowment reaches $450,000 and another $50,000 at $950,000. Dan Ustian,’68, CEO of Navistar, was a $10,000 Dreesen Benefit sponsor and pledged to establish a Diesel Engine Repair/Maintenance Program in the Tech Building.

Ray Jakubiak, ’66, and fellow pilots took students on their first airplane rides. Classes of ’49, ’66, and Harvey Daze contribute.

Received 501(c)(3) designation, elected officers, established budget.

Initiated Distinguished Speakers Program with presentations by Dan Ustian, Tom Dreesen ’57, and Morris ‘Butch’ Stewart ’71.

Awards: $10,000

Restore the High School Yearbook.


Raised over $100,000 net from Navistar-sponsored 2nd Annual Wildcat Open Golf Outing, dinner and live and silent auctions including Tom Dreesen performance, Fred Furth, ’52, donating trip to Chalk Hill winery, and John Toigo, ’67, donating trip to his family’s Tuscany winery.

Distinguished Speakers for ‘07-‘08: William Brazley, ’61, J. David Nelson,’59, Greg Fletcher, ’66, Lorna Propes, ’62, and Reginald Torian, ’68.

Awards: $13,460

Yearbook, SAVE, Interactive World History Maps, Video Equipment, Stereo/CD Player, Summer Speech Institute, Special Ed Field Trips, Newspapers in Education, SophistiCats Girls Dance Troupe.


TALF entrusted to administer Marv Austin Scholarship for an outstanding student-athlete, funded by anonymous donor awarding $3,000 annually for four years and a new winner chosen each year. TALF assisted J. David Nelson, ’59, in the inclusion of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship program into the Thornton curriculum. Third Annual Wildcat Open powered by Navistar nets $62,000.

Distinguished Speakers: Bob Perkins,’58, Dr. Victor Jackson,’65, Dr. Kamala Buckner, ’68.

Awards: $21,340

Computer Lab equipment, athletic video equipment, S.A.V.E, Theater Lighting, Special Education trips for 100 students, Art Gallery, Thornton Gospel Choir travel fees, SophistiCats dance troupe supplies/uniforms, Speech Camp fees/travel, Student Activities Director, Cheerleaders Summer Camp fees.


Fourth Annual Wildcat Open powered by Navistar nets $60,000, and 11 retired and beloved TTHS Faculty.
Distinguished Speakers: Dr. Quincy Moore, ’68, and Fred Bartlit, Jr. ’50.

Navistar expands Tech Building curriculum with a three-year Diesel Engine Repair & Maintenance certification program at maximum enrollment. TALF hires Kay Rampke, ’70, as Executive Director. TALF hires Latz & Wall, fundraising consultants, to initiate annual and major gifts campaigns.

Awards: $21,000

A New Generation of Men, Scholar Academy, Summer Speech camp, Learning through Exploring for ESL students, Project Safety, Video Club, Athletic Training Room upgrades, SophistiCats, Cheerleading equipment/practice suits/summer camp, CPR equipment, Special Ed trips.


Fifth Annual Wildcat Open powered by Navistar nets $107,000, honors six retired and beloved TTHS faculty.
Distinguished Speakers: Roger Wexelberg, ‘77, John Butler, ’65, Dr. Willie Rucker, ’75, David Johnson, 66’, Dr. William Bielby, ’65.

First Annual Alumni/Hall of Fame Day was held with 60 alumni and eight faculty members inducted into the Hall of Fame. The luncheon had over 200 guests in attendance and the dinner dance had over 125 guests. Inaugural Year of Navistar Technology Program: 48 sophomores completed the first year of the three-year comprehensive truck and diesel engine certification program. Major Gift Initiative kicks off with beginning pledge amounts of $73,000.

Awards: $13,250

Restorative Justice Peer Jury, How to be a Lady/Gentleman, DJ Club, Speech Camp, Nano-Chemistry Research Project, Strength & Nutrition Specialist, Special Needs Students field trips/materials, Video Club, Music Symposium, S.A.V.E, Special Olympics.


Sixth Annual Wildcat Open powered by Navistar nets $118,000.

Distinguished Speakers: Dr. Jay Klompmake,’58, Jim Bush,’62, Dr. Adam Murphy, ’95, John Rogers (honorary alumnus), Judge Jim Varga,’71, Kathleen Bankhead,’78, Dr. Milton Davenport III, ‘97.

Second Annual Alumni/Hall of Fame Day with 19 alumni, seven faculty and one school board member inducted into the Hall of Fame. Navistar Technology Program first students complete two years of the three-year certification and 48 new students complete first year. Major Gift Program pledges more than doubling to $150,000.

Awards: $27,997

Cinco de Mayo Dance, Video Club, Speech Camp/Speech Camp at Prairie State, Special Programs Media/ Field Trip, ELL trip to Washington D.C., Yearbook, Black History Month, S.A.V.E. Day, College & Career Center Smart Board, Project Safe Hands, Wrestling Project, Cheerleading Equipment, Weight Room, Graphing Calculators, AP Psychology Review.


Seventh Annual Wildcat Open powered by Navistar nets $54,104.

Distinguished Speakers: Bob Perkins, ’58 (with honorary alumnus and colleague Arlen Wiley), Michael Thomas M.D.’76.

The Third Annual Alumni/Hall of Fame Day Dance was another sold-out event, which raised $6,113. The Legacy Gift Program continues with pledges amounting to $170,000. Navistar Technology Program – First 32 graduates with three-year NATEF certification and nearly 150 more students enrolled.

Awards: $ 37,425

New Generation of Men, Freshman Academy Incentive Program, Readers & Leaders Book Club, AP Psychology & Sociology, Project Marching Band, Special Olympics, TTHS SophistiCats, Video Club, TTHS Yearbook, Spincats TTHS Marching Band Flag Team, Speech Team Summer Camp, Speech Team, Fitness Room, Cameras for Media Production, Thornton Singers, Project Safety, Thornton Mathletes Calculator Competition, Thornton Baseball Program Upgraded for Success, Cheerleading Tumbling Instruction, Track Program, TTHS Wrestling Project, TTHS Wrestling Equipment Project, Restorative Justice Peer Jury.