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Investments Impact Every Holy Family Student

STEAM Funding Impacts Every Holy Family Student

Generous donors attending the 2017 Holy Family Spirit of Fire fundraiser showed passionate support for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). Just how enthusiastic? More than $100,000 was committed through a special one-evening “Fund-a-Need” campaign targeted to preparing all students for the wave of upcoming career opportunities.

Besides a groundswell of support for the cause, this wasn’t just any Fund-a-Need project, says Holy Family President Michael Brennan. This one was special and has become visible throughout Holy Family classrooms and activities.

“The beauty of this Fund-a-Need is that it impacts every student coming through the building,” Brennan says. “It didn’t single out a specific department or grade level to serve as the beneficiary; rather, it touches multiple dimensions for our educational programing and created a real sense of equity experienced by staff and students alike.”

The first addition from the STEAM Fund-a-Need was the purchase of a large-format 3D printer in the Technology Lab last fall. By the end of this school year, all capital equipment being added through the STEAM Fund-a-Need campaign will be purchased and in place to benefit Holy Family students.

“This Fund-a-Need gave us an opportunity to bring different departments together and ask what was needed outside of the conservative budgets we typically work with,” Brennan says. “It was a chance to ask, ‘What do we need to take things to the next level?’ ”

Here is a list of significant investments made from the infusion of STEAM funding, and how each impacts students at Holy Family:

SCIENCE

Investments:

  • 20 Wolfe Beta Elite Monocular Microscopes – Complete January 2019
  • New flume hood in Chemistry Lab – Ready for 2019-20 school year

Benefits to Holy Family Students:

  • Students entering biological fields in college will be better prepared for laboratory work, having experience with higher level scope mechanics and design.
  • New microscope features, such as better resolution, create a superior lab experience. Students will be able to see better, identify and understand cellular structures and processes.
  • The new microscopes are low maintenance and are expected to last 15 to 20 years.
  • The new flume hood, a glass-enclosed exhaust fan that pushes air and toxic gases out of the building, provides additional space for AP Chemistry students to safely perform a broader range of lab activities.

Science Department Insights

“The science department had previously set aside budget to purchase a small number of these microscopes,” says biology teacher Josh Dwyer. “Funds from the Fund-a-Need helped us reach a 1:1 ratio of students to microscopes for all biological labs, including Biology, Anatomy & Physiology and AP Biology. Essentially this purchase will impact every single student that comes through Holy Family.”

TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING

Investments:

  • Large 3D Printer – December 2017
  • CNC (Computer Numeric Control) Milling Machine– September 2018
  • Multiple-Materials 3D Printer – September 2018

Benefits to Holy Family Students:

  • Students in both engineering graphics and robotics have more hands-on learning opportunities by creating more custom parts and prototypes for testing.
  • CNC machine introduces students to the highly sought skill of machine programming, adding a vocational option in the skilled trades.
  • Architecture students can create scale models using the large-format 3D printer.
  • The Multiple-Materials 3D Printer has a 4-head extruder, providing additional flexibility in creating new parts for competitive robots designed and built by the Holy Family Robotics team.

 Technology Department Insights

“Holy Family technology and engineering students now have access to equipment that meets or exceeds other area high schools,” says technology instructor Nick Livermore. “The Multiple-Material 3D printer was on backorder because of high demand from schools and makers. And once we received the CNC machine, we had to wait for new electric to be installed. Everything should be running by Christmas–the improvements we’ll see in the tech lab are worth the wait–and just in time for the heavy robotics building season.”

ARTS

Investments:

  • Digital Kiln – June 2018
  • Kawai GL30 – October 2018

Benefits to Holy Family Students:

  • The new Digital Kiln provides more consistent heat regulation, resulting in better results and outcomes.
  • Up to 75 clay pieces can be fired at once in the new kiln, nearly doubling the volume of the previous kiln. The volume increase is credited to consistent heat throughout the entire kiln.
  • The new kiln, which heats up to 2,200°F, offers improved safety with upgraded ventilation as part of the installation and purchase.
  • The new piano is a high-quality addition to the music program, replacing a used piano that was in place since the school opened nearly 20 years ago.
  • The student body, alumni and parents will experience the new piano at the upcoming Fall Coffee House (Nov. 1) and Spirit of Fire fund-raiser (Nov. 10).

 Art/Music Department Insights

“If you don’t have a functioning kiln, you don’t have a clay program,” says art teacher Shelagh Gamble. “This was a necessary investment. The old kiln was starting to cost more to fix than it was to replace it. We use 4,000 pounds of clay a year with 100 kids taking classes. It is a great investment!”

“I’m looking forward to the Coffee House when the piano makes its debut,” says Brennan. “It’s not every day you buy a new piano. We had one of our teachers ‘test drive’ different models and came back with a No. 1 choice. That’s what we’ll be hearing.”

MATHEMATICS

Investments:

  • Faculty Training, Minnesota Council of Teachers of Math, Spring Conference, Duluth – May 2018

Benefits to Holy Family Students:

  • Faculty learned enhanced methods of introducing technology into classroom teaching methods.
  • Training focused on developing “thinkers” and “problem solvers” through math concepts.
  • Faculty was introduced to new standards to better prepare students for college mathematics and success in their chosen fields.

Math Department Insights

“This wasn’t just about shiny objects,” says Brennan. “It was energizing and inspiring seeing the Math Department seeking professional development and craving to better themselves as teachers. It supports the model of lifelong learning and seeking to always become the best version of ourselves.”

What’s On Tap?

According to Brennan, the investments made from the STEAM Fund-a-Need has infused excitement throughout Holy Family, for both students and faculty. His goal is to carry on that spirit not only this school year, but also many more to come.

“Something like this builds optimism. It becomes contagious when you see contributions being spent to support the cause as they were intended,” Brennan said. “We’ll be planning a new Fund-a-Need campaign for this year’s Spirit of Fire. We’re hoping for the same enthusiastic response. Hopefully, last year’s STEAM Fund-a-Need affirms these gifts are being well stewarded.”

Click HERE to read more about last year’s Spirit of Fire and Strom Engineering’s support of Holy Family’s investment in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.