Stahlecker boys, 11 and 14, give Stephens Center special gifts
June 30, 2008
Two Pocatello boys, 11-year-old Kip Stahlecker, and his brother, 14-year-old Dirk Stahlecker, donated a substantial amount of their life’s savings to support the Idaho State University L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center. They each gave $50 directly to 85-year-old philanthropist Beverly B. Bistline, a major donor to Stephens Performing Arts Center. Fittingly, the boys gave Bistline their donations on the stage of the Bistline Thrust Theatre, a Stephens Center venue named for her.
“We’ve been involved for a long time in productions here and it (donating the Stephens Center) was a worthy cause and it was a great opportunity for us,” said Kip, who will be a sixth-grader at the Pocatello Community Charter School, speaking to Bistline. “Thank you for making the Bistline Theatre possible. It is just a great facility. I love it. It’s awesome.”
Kip and his brother have each performed on the stage of the Bistline Theatre, including parts in “The Music Man,” “McBeth” and “Beauty and the Beast.” They’ve also appeared in other community theater and Idaho State University productions.
“I think that was a good way to go,” Bistline told the boys on stage, holding the money, largely coins, each boy had given her in a large white envelope. “This is heavy stuff.”
Bistline said when she issued the Stephens Center fundraising challenge she never imagined children would respond.
“When I heard about it (the kids’ donations), I was just surprised and thought, ‘isn’t that neat,’” Bistline said. “I am really pleased and I think it is just wonderful.”
Earlier this summer, Bistline announced she would match all new cash gifts up to $250,000 through July 1 to help pay off the cost of construction of the Stephens Center. The boys’ mother, Sue, said they heard about the challenge one morning during a morning news show. The boys were listening, too, and came up with the idea on their own to donate a portion of their allowance that they’ve collected over the past several years. The boys are required to set aside a portion of their allowance for charity, and this was the charity they chose.
“We’ve been saving for a while and this was just a real worthy cause for us,” said Dirk, who will be a freshman at Century High School this fall, and whose father, David, is general manager for the Grease Monkey businesses in Pocatello.
When Bistline made her initial announcement about the Stephens Center challenge, she said that if donations received by July 1 reach the $250,000 goal, she pledged to add another $250,000. She previously contributed $3.5 million to the center, establishing the Beverly B. Bistline Thrust Theater.