SPRINGBORO, Ohio (WDTN) — A former Ohio teacher has left her entire estate of $471,644.01 to the high school where she worked for several years.

Patricia “Patty” McCandless, who died in 2018, was an English teacher at Clearcreek High School, now known as Springboro High School, from 1961-1968, according to the district.

Her estate, which was only recently received by the district, will be used over several years for scholarships and other potential needs of Springboro High School students in grades nine through 12, as per McCandless’ wish.

“We’ve been asking ourselves, ‘Why? Why Springboro High School?’” said Scott Marshall, District Communications Coordinator for Springboro Schools. “Through various conversations with some close friends of Patty’s, who were grade school and high school classmates, the consensus seems to be former Superintendent Ray Perez as the reason Patty donated her estate to SHS.”

McCandless was hired in 1961 by Perez, then-superintendent of Clearcreek Local Schools, which is now Springboro Schools, after she received her bachelor of science in education from Miami University.

“Mr. Perez was a teacher and advisor of Patty’s in Franklin who made an impact on Ms. McCandless, and then ultimately gave Patty her start in the field of education by hiring her right out of college at Clearcreek High School,” Marshall said.

McCandless resigned from Clearcreek High School in 1968 to attend Indiana University, where she earned her master’s in library science in 1970. After completing her degree, she worked at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1990, she left to take a position at the Ohio State University Libraries as the assistant director of OSU Libraries until her retirement in 2005.

Springboro Schools said a committee will be assembled this summer — comprised of administration, staff, community members, and friends of McCandless — to best determine how the funds will be distributed over the course of the next several decades.

“A lot of research has been done in order to learn more about Ms. McCandless,” said Marshall. “In speaking with several close friends of Patty’s, and her colleagues from the University of Illinois and Ohio State, one word has been brought up by every single person to describe Ms. McCandless: kind. Throughout Patty’s life, she impacted many individuals with her hard work, intelligence, and her patience. It’s beyond impressive that Ms. McCandless will continue to impact the students of Springboro for decades to come, by giving back to a district that helped pave the way for a wonderful human being. In a word, Ms. McCandless is inspiring.”