About Us: The History of
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,
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
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.