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LL-H gets $2.5M donation

LAKE LINDEN — Shortly after being named superintendent of Lake Linden-Hubbell Public Schools, Brad Codere was summoned into current Superintendent Craig Sundblad’s office. 

“You might want to sit down,” Sundblad told Codere.

Codere braced himself for something bad. His fears were unfounded. What Sundblad had to tell him was unquestionably good news. — do a double-take, read the number again to be sure good news.

What Codere learned last year, the public found out this week: the district’s foundation had received a $2.5 million bequest from the estate of June and Wayne Nester. Investment returns will go to scholarships for graduating seniors. 

“To say the foundation and the school are excited is an understatement,” Codere said. 

Wayne Nester, a 1925 Lake Linden-Hubbell graduate, was inducted into the Lake Linden-Hubbell Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017. 

After high school, he played baseball and basketball at Western Michigan University. He was good enough to sign with the Cleveland Indians. He trained with them, but following the advice of his father, he chose a teaching career over the minors.

He took a job at Detroit Southeastern, where he taught and coached baseball, basketball and football, leading them to their first state baseball championship in 1930. 

Wayne and his wife, June, moved to Florida for retirement. Wayne died 20 years ago; several school officials met June at a service for Wayne held up here.

“Even though he didn’t come back here often, he appreciated his roots,” Codere said. 

When June died last year, her will stipulated a large part of their estate be left to the district. 

The donation is already paying dividends. About $100,000 of the more than $130,000 given to this year’s graduating class was from the annual returns on the Nesters’ gift. 

“Lake Linden-Hubbell Public Schools are blessed to have received such a generous scholarship for our students,” Foundation President Jennifer Roose said in a statement. “This money will help many high achieving students fund their future dreams that have been nurtured by the LLHS staff and administrators.  We would like to thank the Nesters for being so thoughtful to our students with this gift.”

The foundation is setting criteria for students to get the scholarship funding, including a minimum amount of time spent in the district. 

“We really are just excited,” Codere said. “This opens up a lot of possibilities for what our foundation can help our graduates do.”

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