BOSTON (CBS) – Airbnb is one of the most popular websites for vacation rentals and a West Roxbury native, who graduated from Boston Latin Academy, is one of its founding forces.
On Monday, Nathan Blecharczyk was back at his Alma Mater to make a major announcement. He and his wife Elizabeth are donating $1 million to the school.
“I really look back and think that the habits I developed at Latin Academy propelled me to accomplish all the things that came later,” said Blecharczyk.
Blecharczyk has found unimagined success since his years at Boston Latin Academy. The co-founder of Airbnb, Blecharczyk is now worth billions. And at 36, he and his wife Elizabeth have pledged to donate half their fortune during their lifetimes.
“She and I have been deeply influenced by our high school experiences so we are both very involved in our high schools,” Blecharczyk explained.
Blecharczyk believes schools need to focus on STEM, the acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
“This day and age where the world is becoming so technologically sophisticated this really is a core skill set that you should be familiar with,” said Blecharczyk.
Boston Latin Academy Headmaster Chimdi Uchendu agrees, saying STEM is the future.
Seventy percent of Boston Latin Academy is comprised of students of color. Blecharczyk believes that diversity needs to be mined.
“The world 50 years from now will be completely different than it is today and so who is going to define that future?” asked Blecharczyk.
As Latin Academy thanked Elizabeth and Nathan Blecharczyk Monday, Boston’s school superintendent expressed gratitude not only for the donation, but also for the inspiration.
“Beyond the donation, which is amazing in and of itself, the inspiring words and the time that he has taken with the students today has just been really quite a gift,” Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said.
Elizabeth and Nathan Blecharczyk say in addition to their donation, the couple will match other donations to Boston Latin Academy up to one million dollars.