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Donor PROFILE Chris and Jim Peterson “We did our due diligence – we interviewed everywhere. Key seemed like the right fit and obviously, it’s a perfect fit.” It was Chris and Jim Peterson’s neighbors who originally recommended The Key School. The Peterson’s daughter Alex started in first grade and is currently a junior, and the family couldn’t be happier with the many experiences and memories they’ve had at the School. Chris remembers how it all started. “We did our due diligence—we interviewed everywhere. Key seemed like the right fit and, obviously, it’s a perfect fit,” she said. That “perfect fit” went beyond just the School and its faculty. “I was immediately embraced by the parent community,” Chris explained. She immediately threw herself into volunteering that very first year. Supporting The Key School, in one way or another, has been a recurring theme with the Peterson family—a commitment by each one of them. “We made a family decision—Jim, Alex and I,” began Chris. “Key would be our priority in charitable giving.” The Peterson family has supported Key’s Annual Fund, Endowment, Barn renovation, land acquisition, and many Parents’ Association events. Chris, a member of the Board of Trustees, is chairing the 2013-2014 Annual Fund Committee this year. Previously, she served as chair of the Advancement Committee of the Board of Trustees and was chair of the Faculty Staff Appreciation Luncheon for many years.

Current parents Jim and Chris Peterson (pictured here with their daughter Alex ’15) have been generous donors to Key’s Annual Fund, Endowment and Capital Projects for a decade. Chris Peterson has served on Key’s Board of Trustees since 2006 and is currently a dedicated member of the Annual Fund, Advancement and Audit Committees. Jim and Chris are also valued volunteers for many other Key School activities and are avid supporters of the School’s equestrian team. “One of the memories that I cherish to this day is the oyster presentation in second grade. I had the opportunity to be the oyster doctor,” he remembered. “It allowed me to see the real interactions in the classroom and get a true sense of what goes on. I don’t know any other school that has that level of interaction between the teachers and the students— it’s just so amazing.” Chris agreed.

“I just believe it’s my responsibility,” Chris admitted. “It is part of being involved parents in an independent school community.”

“I think The Key School is genuinely focused on the whole child – it’s not just about academics,” she said. “Clearly the academics are strong but, in addition, it’s about the outdoor education program, it’s about an athletics program that includes every student and gives them the opportunities they might not have had otherwise, it’s about the Life Skills program that teaches them how to handle certain situations and how to be open and sensitive to each other.”

Jim and Chris own the Highway Veterinary Hospital in Bowie where Jim is a veterinarian. Through the years, they have given Key students interested in veterinarian studies internship opportunities for senior class projects.

In speaking further about the power of a positive educational and social experience Chris said, “You know the old saying “it takes a village to raise a child”? I think Key School is our partner in raising Alex.”

Jim explained he was sold on the School early on after witnessing an educational approach that transcended all others he had seen. “At Key, it’s more about the process of thinking—that’s what the faculty focuses on. Alex has learned to evaluate the world around her, interpreting the information, and coming to conclusions.” Jim is confident that this experience has given his daughter the tools she needs for academic success, well beyond the classroom walls.

As for Alex, she’s an athlete and a busy one at that. “She rides on the equestrian team, of which she was a founding member, and also plays field hockey and lacrosse.” In their spare time, the Peterson family enjoys travel. “We travel extensively for pleasure,” said Chris. Among their favorite destinations, St. Kitts ranks high. The Key School “village” is very fortunate to have the Peterson family giving so much of themselves, their resources, and their unwavering support to its students, faculty and staff.

Special thanks to Key parent Donna Cole for interviewing the donor families and contributing the Donor Profiles.

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