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Boston Latin Academy gifted $1 million from alumnus, Airbnb co-founder

Boston Herald logo Boston Herald 10/21/2019 Alexi Cohan, Sean Philip Cotter
BOSTON MA. - OCTOBER 21:  Airbnb co-founder and 2001 Boston Latin Academy graduate Nathan Blecharczyk speaks with students at his alma mater on October 21, 2019 in Boston, MA. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald) © Provided by MediaNews Group d/b/a Digital First Media BOSTON MA. - OCTOBER 21: Airbnb co-founder and 2001 Boston Latin Academy graduate Nathan Blecharczyk speaks with students at his alma mater on October 21, 2019 in Boston, MA. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Boston Latin Academy received a $1 million donation from alumnus and Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk who visited the school on Monday as part of Boston Public Schools STEM week.

The money will go toward new computer labs and improved and expanded science education program, said Blecharczyk.

“Elizabeth, my wife, and I would love to make a $1 million dollar gift to the school,” announced Blecharczyk, eliciting thunderous applause.

He added that he and his wife Elizabeth will match other donations to BLA up to $1 million.

Blecharczyk, a 2001 Graduate of Boston Latin Academy spoke with students participating in BLA’s computer science courses. He shared advice from his time at the school and his story founding Airbnb.

“You need to always be challenging yourself, you can’t get comfortable,” Blecharczyk told students. “Time is so precious and you should really try to make the most of it.”

Blecharczyk went to Harvard after graduating top of his class from BLA and later moved to San Francisco to work on his start-up.

He also advised students to choose good friends, try your best, and play sports, as he ran track and cross country at BLA.

“If I had not run track I would not have graduated top of my class,” said Blecharczyk.

“Nathan’s success story is proof of the incredible talent we have in the Boston Public Schools,” said Mayor Martin Walsh. “His donation will make a real impact in the lives of our students, and we’re grateful for his dedication to BPS. We are proud that Nathan has chosen to invest in our schools, making an impact on our world and on our students.”

Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said, “It’s inspiring for our students to see a BPS graduate achieve the kind of incredible success Mr. Blecharczyk has had.

“It’s even more inspiring for them to see him return to his roots to share his success in a way that creates more learning opportunities for them. His generosity and example will encourage our students to continue pursuing their own dreams, and hopefully encourage other STEM industries in our own backyard to explore creative partnership opportunities,” said Cassellius.

Boston School Committee Chairman Michael Loconto said, “As a school system and as a city, we need to do all we can to show our students that they can learn and succeed in STEM, entrepreneurship, and innovation, which is so important in today’s quickly changing economy.”

BPS will host dozens of group science, technology, engineering and math activities for students both inside and outside of school during STEM Week.

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