By Marnie McAllister, Record Assistant Editor
Holy Family School, St. Paul School and St. Andrew Academy are poised to expand classroom technology and improve their buildings thanks to grants they received from Holy Trinity Church late last month.
The St. Matthews area parish donated $65,000 — divided between the three schools — from Holy Trinity’s Building a Future of Hope campaign funds.
“We have in the past couple of years designated one third of our funds to outreach programs,” said Bob Hublar, a member of the Holy Trinity parish council.
“Everyone has always been so happy to do that. We have been very blessed at Holy Trinity; we have great parishioners who have been generous with their funds. And we decided to share these blessings with others.”
This is the third year the parish has donated a portion of its Building a Future of Hope funds. In the first two years, the money was donated to charitable and social service organizations.
This year, Father J. Mark Spalding, pastor of Holy Trinity and vicar general of the Archdiocese of Louisville, suggested the parish council consider giving to other Catholic schools whose budgets were tighter than Holy Trinity’s.
The parish “was very willing and eager to do this,” Hublar noted. “All the parishes in the archdiocese here, we are just one big family. When some of your members are in need, you do whatever you can for them.”
Father Spalding said that his work as vicar general has “opened my eyes to challenges in the archdiocese as a whole.”
“Schools are at the top, if not the top, of the list,” he said. “I offered that to the parish council and they were receptive to it.”
He conducted some research to determine three schools that could benefit from Holy Trinity’s grants. The parish council then contacted the schools, asked them to consider what they needed and challenged them to find matching grant money.
The principals of those schools — which successfully met the matching grant challenge — say they were elated and surprised by the proposal.
Dr. Beverly McAuliffe, principal of Holy Family School, said the donation of $23,000 was “such a blessing for us.”
The school on Poplar Level Road has an enrollment of 156 students. McAuliffe said she plans to purchase tablet computers, such as iPads, for teachers with part of the funds. The purchase will be a first step in the school’s goal to equip its students with hand-held devices at a one-to-one ratio.
McAuliffe also noted that the school has had ongoing problems with corrosion on some of its plaster walls. The cause of the corrosion was recently corrected. Now, part of the money from Holy Trinity will be used to repair the plaster and paint the walls.
McAuliffe said that sharing among parish communities may be one key to the future success of Catholic schools.
“It was such a gift and that’s the way I think that we can keep the Catholic schools open — if the parishes that have much can give to those that don’t,” she said. “At Holy Family, the children are motivated, they’re respectful. And I’ve got a strong faculty. It is rock solid.”
St. Andrew Academy principal Jennifer Barz said she didn’t know where to begin when Holy Trinity’s parish council asked what the school needed.
“It’s very humbling and such an honor to have a partnership like this,” she said. “We feel very very blessed.”
Barz said St. Andrew, which is located on Columbine Drive and sponsored by St. Peter the Apostle Church, will use the funds to improve the technological infrastructure of the school building, such as its wiring.
“It’s so hard for people to get their minds around that because it’s not something you see,” she said, noting that consultants are currently studying the school’s needs. “We really had to look at our building. Can we have 30 devices turned on and connected to the internet and not have any problems?”
Like Holy Family School, St. Andrew Academy aims to have a one-to-one ratio of students to hand-held technology for its 218 students.
St. Paul School is a step or two closer to that goal. The school plans to expand its use of technology even more for its 178 students with the grant funds.
Kevin Brever, principal of St. Paul located on Dixie Highway, said his school was the first in the archdiocese to equip all of its middle school students with netbooks — small laptop computers that are geared toward Internet use. He plans to use part of the funds from Holy Trinity to purchase iPads for fourth and fifth graders.
The school also has identified 10 classrooms that need general renovations and 30 windows on its north side need to be replaced to increase the school’s energy efficiency. Those repairs will be funded in part by the Holy Trinity grant and also by donations from local businesses, said Brever.
He characterized Holy Trinity’s gift as overwhelming.
“I couldn’t thank them enough. To me, that is the ultimate sign of a parish — to help other parishes in other situations. I just applaud their efforts tremendously,” he said.
Chuck Leppert, a member of Holy Trinity’s parish council who, along with Father Spalding and Bob Hublar, toured the schools before the donations were made, said he was humbled by what he saw.
“It enabled me to view first hand the dedication our Catholic educators have to these young students. We met several students and you could just sense the dedication.
“It also revealed the sacrifices (the students’) parents are making to provide a Catholic education,” he said. “Bob and I talked during our travels — there’s almost a covenant feeling (with the schools now). I’d like to continue the relationships.”