By Jessica Easthope
Bishop Robert Brennan was seated front and center in class as students took him to school on STEM.
The St. Bartholomew Catholic Academy Sharp Blades were Bishop Brennan’s first introduction into Catholic Schools Week. The robotics team is on a mission to win an upcoming competition and break boundaries in Catholic education.
“It helps out a lot in academics, in robotics we don’t just learn about the robots and lego, we learn about science, cells and reproduction and it’s enlightening,” said eighth grader Nicholas Borja.
St. Bartholomew considers itself a small school with big pride, with just 160 students. Close to 70 percent of the school is undocumented, St. Bartholomew pastor Father Rick Beuther says that comes with a big sacrifice.
“We want to show that sacrifice really pays off and this is a new generation of young Catholics showing greatness,” he said.
Bishop Brennan says the sacrifice extends beyond money – as parents enter a partnership with the school to give their children the best education possible.
“They work away and sacrifice and make the commitment and do what they can to make it happen for their children,” said Bishop Brennan.
Nearly half the school receives scholarships and as more students get involved in STEM and other science programs, Principal Denise Gonzalez says they’re empowered and prepared to practice their craft – and their faith outside the classroom.
“They acquire this confidence so our families, they sacrifice, especially after the pandemic,” she said.
For students, attending St. Bartholomew has driven them toward a new passion – one that’s allowing them to see how science and faith collide.
“Here it’s a science driven school you would think that science and religion don’t correlate with each other but they do, in the Bible at the start of the world there is light and in science there’s something similar there’s an explosion that started the universe,” said eighth grader Danielle Tuble.
The Sharp Blades will compete virtually in February in a First Lego League competition against 30 other schools.