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January 25, 2013

Trust fund donation will open view at Saltonstall

SALEM — On Tuesday night, the School Committee voted to accept a $50,000 gift for renovations to the Science Discovery Center at Saltonstall School.

It was a routine agenda item, but also special.

The money was offered by Dr. Nile Albright, a trustee of the Norman H. Read Charitable Trust.

“(Albright) called me,” said Darleen Melis, chairwoman of the school building committee that oversees the ongoing renovations at Saltonstall and Collins Middle schools. “He said, ‘I have this wonderful idea.’”

The idea was to move the cabinets, sinks and other objects that block a large window in the science room at Saltonstall, a window that faces Salem Harbor.

“He wanted to bring it back,” she said of the view and the full sunlight. “He wanted a sense of excitement to be in that room.”

For anyone who knows the Read Trust, it was one more in a long list of acts of generosity, all aimed at giving the Salem public schools a science program second to none.

“It’s phenomenal,” Saltonstall Principal Julie Carter said. “We wouldn’t have been able to do this renovation without this money.”

There is a lot that the Salem public schools couldn’t do without the Read Trust, which has donated more than $3.5 million for science education over the past two decades.

The trust has established and stocked Norman H. Read Science Education Centers in virtually every public school. It has paid teacher salaries and currently pays the salaries of several science integration specialists in the public schools, who help coordinate programs across the school system.

It pays to send Salem residents to the Museum of Science in Boston every fall, even supplying free train rides. Then there is the summer Read Family Picnic, begun years ago by another family trust, that has evolved into an outdoor science fair for the children of Salem.

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