Horizons Alternative High School receives a surprise donation

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Meg North(left), science teacher in the CLK School District’s Horizons Alternative High School, and Bud Cole, Fender Instruments - Tokyo president, discuss music’s value during a presentation in which Cole donated 10 concert Fender ukuleles to the school.

MOHAWK — The Horizons Alternative High School received a surprise gift Wednesday afternoon when Edward (Bud) Cole donated 10 brand new, top-of-the-line professional quality Fender ukuleles. Cole is the president of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation of Asia, and is responsible for developing and growing FMIC’s overall business function in one of the world’s fastest growing markets. While Cole lives in Tokyo, he considers Eagle River his home.

During the presentation of the instruments to the students, Cole explained why he wanted to give the school the ukuleles.

“When I was in school, I was not the best student,” he said, “and a musical instrument, for me, helped me make sense of the world.”

Cole told the students that what is important about music is it is a way for people to expand themselves.

“The thing about music is lets you collect your thoughts,” Cole said. “It’s not just playing it. There’s so much science and cool stuff behind why a guitar sounds the way it does.”

The donated ukuleles, which each included a high-quality canvas carrying bag, are concert ukuleles, Cole said.

“It’s one of the best ones Fender makes,” he told the students. “These are really cool Fender ukuleles. Maybe next time, it’s going to be Fender Telecasters and Stratacasters, one step at a time.”

Cole’s presentation included an inspirational message to the students.

“I love what you guys do here. And I just want to say that everybody learns different ways,” he said. “And I found ways to learn about the world, and learn about the stuff I need to learn through unorthodox ways, and through ways I probably aren’t described as a normal way. But doing that, I found a way to become the president of Fender, travel to 61 countries, and do all the stuff that I’ve been able to do. And the cool thing about coming to a place like this and talking to young people is no matter what your dreams are, or what you think you can do, through education, and studying at education, you can do anything, and in this room, your future is so bright it burns my eyes.”

He knows what he is talking about.

Cole is the former president and representative director of Ralph Lauren Corporation Japan, the company’s largest business outside the United States. In addition, Cole served as the managing director for DFS Group in Japan/Guam/Saipan.

DFS is the world’s leading luxury travel retail division of the Louis Vuitton – Moët Hennessy Group (LVMH). He also served as the global accounts director and commercial director of Asian Travel Retail for wine and spirits giant, Groupe Pernod Ricard.