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Originally published: 2014-06-25 14:58:47
Last modified: 2014-06-25 14:58:47

Former NC attorney general invests in Watauga education

Former North Carolina Attorney General and Secretary of State Rufus Edmisten has donated $5,000 to help families at Mabel Elementary School attend the afterschool program at Mabel.  The donation matches Edmisten's contribution last year as the largest single contribution received by any afterschool program in the Watauga County Schools.

 In making the donation, Edmisten praised Mabel Principal Mark Hagaman and afterschool site director Patricia Sperry, as well as the quality of Mabel's afterschool program.  

"I want to say how much I admire Principal Hagaman and Patricia Sperry. They are an inspiration to all of us," Edmisten said.  "I feel that this program is one of the best in the state and I want to do all I can to help those students get the best education possible."  

Mabel's afterschool program was the first in Watauga County to attain a rated license from the N.C. Division of Child Development. It achieved a four star license in 2010 and then became the first local program to attain a five star license -- the highest possible rating -- in October 2012.
 A Watauga County native, Edmisten said that many organizations request funding from his Foundation for Good Business to help students with educational expenses, but Watauga gets special consideration. 

"I always put aside this amount for my home county of Watauga because I owe so much to the great teachers who helped me in my career path," Edmisten said.  

In addition to his generous grants to Mabel, Edmisten's foundation also awards funds to help high school students attend college. 

The donations have assisted students at Watauga High School and at other high schools in North Carolina. 

Hagaman said Edmisten's generous donations are very important to the afterschool program and the families it serves.  

"Many parents need child care after school hours so they can work at their jobs all day without worrying about their children," Hagaman said. "Mr. Edmisten's contributions help ensure that parents can afford the care they need, and students' participation in the afterschool program helps these children succeed in school. His donations are literally helping generations of families at Mabel and we are very grateful for his support."  

Edmisten was the Democratic nominee for governor in 1984 and won national attention as chief legal counsel to U.S. Sen. Sam Ervin on the Senate Watergate Committee.  

In the latter role, he personally served the subpoena for the Watergate tapes to President Richard Nixon, a key development in the investigation that eventually led to Nixon's resignation in August 1973. 

Edmisten currently lives in Raleigh, where he is an attorney in the firm of Edmisten, Webb and Moore.