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Donor Spotlight: The Baer-Olson Family

A photo of the Olson family in front of water and boats

At French International, we are proud to have devoted parents, faculty, staff, alumni, and grandparents committed to positively shaping our school and enriching the student experience. LaGazette features families who donate to the Annual Fund, give their time with volunteer hours, and why they support French International.

Merritt and Steve joined French International's community in 2022, enrolling their daughters Sylvia in K and Louise in Pre-K. In 2024, they enrolled their son, Reed, in TPS. They were drawn by French International's fantastic community and its international diversity. 

This school year, Merritt joined Parent Parentship as the Maternelle Coordinator. Merritt dedicates her time to provide guidance and support to Maternelle families and room parents. This volunteering role is essential to help create connections between families and French International teachers and administrators through room parents' gatherings and social events. It takes the dedication of committed volunteer leaders like Merritt to continue to make French International a supportive and welcoming environment. 

Since joining French International, they have been dedicated supporters of the Annual and recently became members of the 1979 Society.

What contributed to your decision to donate to the Annual Fund? 

The unique financial model of independent schools, grounded in community, generosity, and philanthropy, resonated with us. The Annual Fund supports essential aspects like creative programming, tuition assistance, faculty development, and capital projects. It's not just about closing the gap between tuition and costs but creating a meaningful connection with the school's mission.

Has something you saw from us or that we sent you inspired you to give? 

Conversations with teachers and faculty and a deeper understanding of how our contributions directly impact the school were inspiring. Knowing that our donations support plays, musicians, and visiting artists and enhance our children's education motivated us to contribute.

The Annual Fund is our school's fundraising efforts and supports the school's greatest need. Giving to the Annual Fund supports our ability to provide our students with academic resources and opportunities for growth. Without the participation of our community, French International cannot continue to thrive. 

What message would you like to share with our community about the importance of supporting French International? 

We want to emphasize the power each family in our community holds to make a direct impact. By supporting French International, we go beyond what tuition covers, providing our children with a world-class education. It's a shared effort that enhances not only individual learning experiences but the entire community, fostering a vibrant and enriching environment for all.

As a parent, how have you witnessed the positive effects of your donations on your child's education and overall experience at the school?

Our children have benefited immensely from diverse educational experiences funded by donations, such as the music garden in the kindergarten area. The abundance of music, art, STEM, and specialist attention has created a rich and enjoyable learning environment. The tangible impact is evident in their enthusiasm and joy for learning.

We are genuinely inspired by your unwavering support towards the Annual Fund. Your generosity, volunteerism, and financial contribution have made a significant impact. Thank you, Merritt and Steve, for setting an example.

What is your favorite, or proudest, French International moment?

One of our favorite moments is the Fête de la Musique. Sharing the event with the entire school and witnessing the pure joy our children experience during this celebration is truly heartwarming. It reflects the vibrant and connected community at French International.

What are you the most excited about for the future of French International? 

The prospect of a new, world-class campus is incredibly exciting. With an outstanding leadership team and a clear vision, the future promises continued excellence. The commitment to the new mission, campus development, and adherence to the strategic plan positions the school as a leader in education.

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