NEW LEBANON -- Darrow School has received two major gifts totaling $1.1 million, among the largest donations in school history.

A $500,000 anonymous contribution from a past parent and a $600,000 bequest from the estate of Abram Poole, Class of 1956, are in the top five of single contributions in the 81 years of Darrow, according to school officials.

Head of School Simon Holzapfel says the funds come at a crucial time in planning for the school's future.

"These are very transformative gifts [that] will allow us to execute several important projects sooner than anticipated," he said.

One priority for the funds is renovating the nearly 45-year-old student center that Holzapfel called the "extracurricular hub" for the 110 students at the private high school-level campus.

First opened in 1932 as the Lebanon School for Boys, Darrow School is an independent, co-educational boarding and day school for Grades 9 through 12 at the Mount Lebanon Shaker Village on the New York-Massachusetts state line.

In addition to capital improvements, school officials say the board of trustees has decided to allocate the funds toward Darrow's endowment fund and high-value strategic projects such as marketing, communications and admissions efforts.

Darrow Director of Advancement Alexandra Heddinger hopes the two significant donations inspire alumni and others to contribute to the school's future.

"These commitments come from an alumnus who experienced Darrow's living and learning environment and the other from a family whose child's life was impacted by being here," Heddinger said. "They inspire the kind of transformation that we are witnessing daily in our students."

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