The generous donation of one graduate has borne fruit for a local school - and they hope it will for many years in the future.


The generous donation of one graduate has borne fruit for a local school - and they hope it will for many years in the future.
Following the death of Minnie Sharp, Jackson County School District Superintendent Chester Shannon was contacted by Sharp’s niece and nephew, Jeanette Pope and Rodney Sharp, concerning a gift left by Sharp to her alma mater.
“Just prior to Ms. Sharp’s passing, we had applied for and been approved for a $50,000 grant for a greenhouse,” Shannon explained.
“They called me and said they would like to meet due to their aunt’s gift to the school.” According to Shannon, Sharp and her husband led “a modest and conservative life, while living and working on their approximately 200 acre farm in Cord,” where she cultured a love of gardening.
It was through her love of gardening and the value of education instilled in her by her parents, Sam and Ida Sharp, that she bequeathed a $25,000 gift to the school’s Vocational Agriculture department.
“After speaking with Jeanette and Rodney and learning a little bit about Ms. Sharp, I asked them if they would have any opposition to coupling her gift with the grant money we had received for the greenhouse,” Shannon said, “they thought it would be a great idea.”
“It seemed like a natural fit to honor her memory and help instill that love of gardening - and farming - in our students today.”
Shannon noted that her donation was a real blessing for the district.
“The $50,000 grant that we received for the greenhouse was enough to get it on the truck, delivered and unloaded here,” he said.
“What her donation was to make sure that we were able to get everything we needed for the greenhouse.  Everything is top of the line inside because of Ms. Minnie.”
He added, “Mr. (Bill) Caldwell (Agri director) will do a wonderful job with this new program and will it fulfill a long desire to add this program to our agri department.”
Sharp, a 1937 graduate of Tuckerman High School, was sent by ferryboat across the Black River at Cord to stay in “Mrs. Tulla’s Boardinghouse” from the ninth grade until graduation.
Shannon met Monday, Nov. 22 with Sharp’s family presenting them each with framed letters from the district thanking them for their dedication in carrying out their aunt’s wishes as well as the Sharp family for their generous donation.
“This family - which had no children of their own - modestly farmed 200 acres or so, providing for themselves as best they could,” Shannon explained.
“For her to donate $25,000 based on their modest income is an amazing gesture.  I’m sure this is a lifetime of saving and is probably akin to someone donating $100,000.”
He continued, “We are so appreciative of the Sharp family and Ms. Sharp’s wonderful generosity.”
According to Shannon, along with the framed thanks given to her family, a permanent plaque will be affixed to the greenhouse commemorating her generosity so students “will always know what this meant to her.”
Shannon is hopeful that the construction of the greenhouse will be completed by Christmas and expects Caldwell’s agri students to have it in use in the spring.