ShareThis Page

Cornerstone students take lead in fundraiser to buy building from South Park district

| Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

With the lease for Cornerstone Christian Preparatory Academy expiring in June, the small private school's 39 students are spearheading a fundraiser to buy their building from the South Park School District.

“Cornerstone is like my second home. I don't want to see it fall apart, and I don't want to go anywhere else,” said sophomore Bri Pope of McMurray.

The school is approaching the end of its second year in South Park's former Stewart Elementary School along Brownsville Road. Unless the district renews its lease, Cornerstone must either find a new home or raise $105,000 to buy the building outright, said Principal Brandon McCall.

“The building, for us, is great,” he said. “We've all invested a lot of sweat equity.”

South Park School District Superintendent Jeanine Gregory said the district has a sales agreement with the school, and she is optimistic Cornerstone could meet its goals, but if it did not, officials would go to the school board to talk about renewing the lease, which expires at the end of June.

Cornerstone students have taken the lead in soliciting donations, raising more than $18,000 in seven days for the “A Home for the Stone” campaign on

They want to meet their goal by early June.

Many credit the school, founded in 2008, with improving their academic performance and their faith.

“There's such a difference in terms of the students and environment at Cornerstone,” said Amanda Arvay, a sophomore from Peters who attended public schools until eighth grade. “If I have a problem or questions, here I feel like I can ask anybody.”

Pope and Arvay said they worked with their classmates and parents to write letters to friends, family and business people seeking donations to the campaign.

“The kids are definitely driving this boat, and it's been great to sit back and watch them,” said science teacher Ethan Anastas, who also coaches the school's robotics team.

That team won first place in the BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) Robotics tournament in 2012 at Auburn University and took second place in 2013 at a BEST competition in Fargo, N.D.

Anastas said the technical skills the students demonstrated and the marketing, networking and presentation skills they built during those robotics competitions are helping them to pitch the school to potential donors.

McCall said the school had a relatively large graduating class last year, and a successful open house earlier this spring.

He anticipated enrollment going up to about 70 students in grades seven to 12 next fall. Cornerstone's tuition will be $6,950 for the 2014-15 academic year.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.