Tienken Academy offers foundation for student growth
LINDSAY — The after school program at McDermont Field House is now named after a lifelong Lindsay resident known for community involvement.
That’s in part because the program’s former — the Steve Garvey Junior High School Extended Day Program — “really wasn’t cool,” city officials said.
Back in the 1970s, Steve Garvey was a rising star in baseball, destined for the Hall of Fame. It was 1977 when Lindsay Junior High School became Steve Garvey Jr. High School by popular vote of the students.
But 30 years later, that star has lost significant luster and “Extended Day Program” was not a big seller, according to Tim Cregor, who had been hired as its director.
In 2008, the thinking was to name the program after someone in the community who stood for community involvement at all levels, just as the after school program wanted to involve the students at levels of achievement including academics, sports and the arts. The result: Tienken Academy.
“This whole thing gets a little gushy sounding,” Cregor said. “But it’s just based on a love for these kids and for the city.”
He said it stemmed from a couple of beliefs they held about Lindsay’s youth.
“We believe they are good, wholesome, trustworthy, hardworking and loving individuals who want to experience self-confidence and happiness,” he said.
But there’s more than that.
“People tend to slide when they set goals,” he said, mentioning New Year’s resolutions. “But if someone or some program is measuring the progress of the goal setters, they are much more likely to achieve those goals, with self-confidence and happiness as a biproduct.”
It was lifelong Lindsay resident Robert “Bob” Tienken who epitomized love of and service to community, along with his wife of 66 years, Barbara.
His father, A.C. Tienken, had been instrumental in getting a safe water system installed in the city, getting the streets paved and electric street lights downtown. He was responsible for the funding and building of the Mt. Whitney Hotel, once renowned for its service and famous clientele.
Robert Tienken followed in his father’s footsteps in community service, but he and his wife prefer keeping a low profile. What he did say was he was happy to be able to give Bank of the Sierra stock to support the Tienken Academy, as it is now called, happy that it would also shed more light on the good the bank, that he helped found and for which he still serves as a director, was able to do.
“As I look back on my life I feel it has been good and satisfying and very blessed. Everything I have been involved in has been something
I enjoyed doing,” Tienken said. “I have discovered that if you try to make things a little bit better — with family, at church or in the community — you are not just helping people, you are a happier person. I believe the secret to a fulfilling life is using your money and talents in a way that will serve one’s neighbor or one’s country to the benefit of all.”
Tienken’s support of youth, cultural and historic activities around Lindsay are legend and topical. How does he do it all?
“The most important thing is to set goals in life and update those goals as you move along,” he said. “When you reach a goal, set one further up.”
This is the stated mission and objective of the Tienken Academy. Students will be assessed four times a year in areas of academics, sports and arts, will then set goals to improve in each area, and will then chart their progress on paper to monitor progress and growth.
“The ultimate goal of our program is that students experience successes that contribute to the other successes they have experienced and prepare them to function as productive adults,” Cregor said.
The Tienken Academy funding was officially accepted by the city at the Jan. 13 Lindsay City Council meeting.
-- Carolyn Barbre is the city arts coordinator in Lindsay. Contact her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.