Donations Help Catholic School Build STEM Lab

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Entertainment, Faith, Family, Queens, NY

By Emily Drooby

Students at Saint Athanasius Catholic Academy have a new STEM lab to learn in.

Seventh Grade Student, Sebastian Manfredonia, said: “We can interact with the smart board with the iPads, and we have more room to work.”

The STEM lab, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math, is in a modular building adjacent to the school. It has items like robots that help students learn to code, 3D printers, and iPads.

During a ribbon cutting and blessing of the new lab, Monsignor David Cassato, the Pastor of St. Athanasius Church explained the STEM lab was possible because of generous donors.

Monsignor Cassato, said: “This was not through some grant…the money came from our own savings, we had a very big card party at El Caribe in April, we did very well at that, we had money from that and we had a very strong donation of services by Mr. Holzer.”

Especially, one local man.

Monsignor Cassato, said: “Jimmy said, ‘oh, I’ll put the electricity in’, and he did it as a donation to the school. And then there was a distance about five feet that the kids had to walk outside to the modular, and then he created this whole new space where the kids don’t go outside at all and they stay within the building.”

School officials estimate his contribution at tens of thousands of dollars.

Jimmy Holzer, the donor, said: “We try to help the neighborhood and help the people, it’s an amazing thing, it’s just amazing for us, really. We did it just because we wanted to do it, not for any recognition. That’s who we are.”

Students are grateful to the school and donors for the new, interactive place to learn.

The school’s Principal, Diane Competello, said: “The children have not stopped talking about it, and they get so involved in their own learning and that’s the key.”