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Bush Brothers gift to support Blugold Beginnings in Augusta schools

Students in the Augusta Area School District will have new opportunities to explore possibilities for post-high school education through a gift from Bush Brothers & Co. of Augusta.

The local employer's $5,000 gift to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation will support mentoring of Augusta middle and high school students through UW-Eau Claire's Blugold Beginnings program beginning in January.

"This contribution is part of Bush Brothers' continuing support of Augusta students and will help them be successful by preparing and exposing them to the possibilities that are available to them in further education," said Joe Breid, director of operations for Bush Brothers & Co. in Augusta.

Blugold Beginnings pairs UW-Eau Claire student mentors with youth in area schools. The program aims to inform and inspire underrepresented students about higher education and how it is attainable for them.

"I'm very pleased and excited about the Bush Brothers & Co. donation to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation in support of the Blugold Beginnings programming set to begin second semester at Augusta Middle and High schools," said the schools' principal, Jason Kesner. "Their donation will allow for mentors from UW-Eau Claire to begin working with our middle and high school students to support and enhance their learning and explore educational opportunities for their future."

Jodi Thesing-Ritter, UW-Eau Claire associate dean of students and Blugold Beginnings program director, said the number of area middle and high school students served will grow to 400 when Blugold Beginnings programming with Augusta students begins next month. Blugold Beginnings also serves students in the Eau Claire and Altoona school districts and provides a learning community for underrepresented students at UW-Eau Claire to ensure their successful transition from high school to college.

"We are deeply grateful for Bush Brothers' investment in the youth of Augusta," Thesing-Ritter said. "We're excited to expand our programming to Augusta students and continue our work helping all students to achieve their full potential."