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A Permanent Home
Ernie's Gift

We are honored to announce that iconic Santa Barbara photographer, environmentalist, and educator Ernie Brooks II has officially gifted us the Jefferson Campus, giving Middle School a permanent home.

The Jefferson Campus property is valued at nearly $8 million, making it one of the largest donations given to an independent school in our region. We honor Ernie for both this gift and his countless other contributions to the Santa Barbara community, incorporating him in a series of 40th anniversary celebrations, including a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, October 7 at the new garden in his honor.

Brian sharing the new fountain with Ernie
Congresswoman Lois Capps commemorating Ernie's gift.

There to mark the event were U.S. Congresswoman Lois Capps, State Senator Hannah Beth Jackson, Santa Barbara County Supervisors Janet Wolf and Salud Carbajal (candidate for Congress), City of Santa Barbara Mayor Pro Tempore Harwood Bendy White, City Council Member Cathy Murillo, along with members of the diving, photography, and Brooks community. Ernie was also invited to celebrate at a variety of 40th anniversary events that reflect the outdoor learning emphasis of the school, including a bike ride and overnight camping trip with SBMS alumni, teachers, and staff.

Ceremonial ribbon breaking by the Bike Monkeys
Attendees at Friday's ceremony

To further honor the profound impact Brooks has had on the photography, diving, and educational community, we hired local firm Oniracom to create a website, ErniesGift.com. The site tells the story of the shared mission between Brooks and SBMS, but more importantly serves as a repository of articles, videos, and stories from Brooks’ life. The website was shared with him just prior to the ribbon cutting at the Friday Town Meeting.

Pat Brooks, Mimi deGruy and Ernie
A slice of "Ernie's Gift" website

Anyone whose life has been impacted by Brooks is encouraged to give back to him by visiting the site and sharing either a meaningful story from his life or a gratitude. Visitors to the site can also continue in the footsteps of Brooks’ legacy by contributing to one of several causes he continues to champion.

Ernie & Richard with the Key to SBMS
Ernie at Mike deGruy's telescope

(Click on an image for a larger version.)

Be sure to view Santa Barbara Middle School TEEN PRESS interviews with Ernie, and with Headmaster Brian McWilliams on the importance of Ernie's life and work, as well as some of the many attendees at the event.