About Us:
The History of Thurston Group


About Us: The History of Thurston Group

A small group of African American and Native American parents from Thurston County, Washington established themselves to provide their youth with positive experiences. These experiences included a variety of activities, in areas of cultural awareness, leadership development and educational options and opportunities. In this process, Larry A. Jenkins, Coordinator, led this endeavor and formalized the group of parents and other interested individuals.

The name “Thurston Group” was first used in 1994 when Larry A. Jenkins (LAJ) organized the transport and attendance of nine (9) young men to the male only Black Orientation of Leadership Development Conference, at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.

The Conference experience for males was so successful that in 1994, Washington State University organizers introduced the African American Women’s Conference (AAW) in 1995, to be carried out during the same period as the Conference. The growing numbers of conference participants increased from the original nine (9) to 141 by 1996. Thurston Group canvassed the churches and community for dedicated parents and volunteers to act as chaperones to accompany the youth to the annual and AAW conferences held in Pullman Washington.

Simultaneously, Native American events and conferences are held to support Native American students through Thurston Group. Additionally, Thurston Group is working with the North Thurston Native American Education Program.

These experiences brought about the need for on-going assistance and support to many of our young men and women with the desire for more advanced learning. The group therefore, established the name Thurston Group OF THE GREATER PUGET SOUND, which was later adopted as Thurston Group OF WASHINGTON STATE ® adopted in 1997. The name reflects the new vision and mission of our organization.

Thurston Group of Washington State are parents with a vision of the future for our young men and women. Our essential emphasis is to support our youth by providing them with educational options to achieve their goals. The group determined that “Education Was and is the Key.” Thurston Group of Washington State later adopted the motto: "Education is the Key to Our Future" in 1997.

On February 5, 2011 Thurston Group of Washington State discontinued its recruitment fair, but we are still accepting students on an individual basis. Although we focus on HCBU's, we also coordinate with other colleges/universities throughout the United States.