On October 4, Leslie Tillotson, NEF co-president, was personally handed a gift of $10,000 from the estate of a woman with special ties to the NEF. The late Margaret Forrant was a 1939 Needham High School graduate who with her classmates, Ralph and Barbara Leader, helped found the NEF with a 50th class reunion gift of $3,000. Mrs. Forrant willed the gift to the NEF in honor of her 6th grade teacher at Emily Grover School, Gladys Howarth Mayo.
Mrs. Forrant’s cousins, Douglas and Shirley Byers of Nova Scotia, traveled to Needham from Nova Scotia to hand-deliver the $10,000 gift. While visiting with Leslie and Kathy DeMayo, NEF administrative director, the Byers told how Mrs. Forrant was deeply inspired by Mrs. Mayo. Mrs. Forrant followed in her teacher’s footsteps, teaching art in New York after graduating college from Boston University. Later, Mrs. Forrant earned a masters degree in social work and was a counselor for many years at Boston Family Services.
During the Byers’ visit, the couple toured High Rock School with principal, Jessica Downey and two 6th grade students. Leslie and Kathy joined the Byers, talking with them about Margaret, our grant programs and the NEF’s impact on Needham education over the years.