Originally published Oct. 5, 2018 by The Toledo Blade.

By Javonte Anderson

Ottawa Hills is getting a $500,000 donation from two alumni, the largest gift the district’s foundation has ever received.

Pete and Amy Kadens, entrepreneurs and philanthropists living in Chicago, donated the funds to the district to help construct a new fitness center at Ottawa Hills Junior/Senior High School and establish a fund that will be used to host prominent authors, scholars, and speakers.

Ottawa HillsFor Mr. Kadens the gift is personal.

“We want to take a holistic approach in helping students leave Ottawa Hills with the most well-rounded experience, which for me included athletics,” he said.

As an Ottawa Hills student, he was class president and captain of the basketball and track team. And his high school experiences, in part, propelled him to be successful at Bucknell University and in his business endeavors.

“The team orientation of being a part of an athletic system and being coached by John Lindsay changed my life,” he said. “A lot of attribution goes to the athletic department because they made me who I am today.”

The new fitness center will be attached to the junior/senior high school’s gymnasium. The district plans to make the fitness center available to all village students and residents.

“If you’re just a kid who wants to stop after school and work on physical fitness, this is for you. If you’re the lineman of the football team who wants to bulk up, this is for you. If you’re the community that wants to come in and do yoga classes, this is you,” Superintendent Kevin Miller said.

Mr. Kadens said he hopes the gift galvanizes fellow alumni to donate more money to the district.

“What I’m hopeful for is that our half a million dollars catalyzes gifts of five million dollars over the next two or three years. … But I think the community piggybacking off what we’ve done as kind of an anchor donor here to really come together and seize this moment as an opportunity to make this institution, which is already a premier educational institution, so much better.”

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    Alumni donate $500,000 to improve physical education facilities at Ottawa Hills High School.
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