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Steel Valley thrives on Campbell's generosity

| Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012

It definitely is an understatement to say Steel Valley benefactor William V. Campbell Jr. has been a friend to the school district throughout the past 10 years.

The 1958 Homestead High School graduate has donated approximately $20 million for upgrades to facilities and technology, among other items.

"Over the past decade, he's given us so much," Steel Valley superintendent Dr. William Kinavey said. "It doesn't cost the taxpayers a dime."

"He's one of the most amazing and generous human beings," said Joe Ducar, school director and Steel Valley Foundation for Education president. "Words can't even describe what he's done for my family and the community."

The Campbell Family Foundation donates money directly to the Steel Valley Foundation for Education, which is set up for anyone who would like to donate to education or facilities within the district.

This school year, the Campbell Family Foundation gave the high school football team $20,000 and the boys and girls basketball teams $10,000. Most recently, the Campbell Family Foundation funded a dek hockey court at the high school.

Campbell has donated millions of dollars toward the computers in the Steel Valley School District over the past several years.

"We have 1,500 computers for 1,800 students," Kinavey said. "In the high school, every department has a lab of 20 to 25 computers."

He said the computers allow Steel Valley students to compete in a global society.

"Our children here are well-tuned on the Internet," Kinavey said. "It enables them to get a quality education. It's the future."

Students in every grade beginning at the kindergarten level are able to utilize computers throughout the school day.

"You get to read books and listen to songs," Barrett Elementary first-grader Ayionna Thompson said.

Barrett, in Homestead, was able to install a 17,000-square-foot building addition with a gymnasium, five classrooms and two offices in 2010.

"People are always amazed when they come in the gym," Barrett principal Sharon Fisher said. "They are awestruck by the fact that this is in an elementary building."

"The old gym was also used as a cafeteria," Kinavey said.

Barrett first-grader Emara Irvin said gym class is her favorite part of the day.

"I get to play dodge ball," he said. "It's fun."

A stage area also was built in the new gym.

A new gymnasium and locker rooms were constructed at Steel Valley Middle School in 2006 and dedicated to Campbell's brother James, a 1960 Homestead High School graduate who died of cancer in March 2006.

The James Campbell Middle School Gymnasium is a 12,300-square-foot facility with a gymnasium, locker rooms and storage space.

An auditorium stage also was constructed in the new gym.

"What my brother wanted more than anything was to be able to be involved where we could make a difference in young people to help them get education and not forget where they grew up," William V. Campbell Jr. said at the gymnasium's May 17, 2006, groundbreaking. "There is a lot involved in how strongly I feel about this community."

Campbell also provided funding for the upkeep of William V. Campbell Field, named for his father William V. Campbell Sr., a former superintendent of the old Homestead High School.

Kinavey said Campbell and Ducar work together closely.

"Mr. Campbell really entrusts Mr. Ducar with overseeing the projects," he said.

The Campbells were born and raised in Homestead.

"(William V. Campbell Jr.) claims he owes his success to his upbringing, his mother and father, and Homestead and the Steel Valley," Ducar said.

He said Campbell visits the Steel Valley two to three times a year.

Campbell funds many other items for the school district such as sports and band uniforms and equipment.

Campbell is the president and chief executive officer of Intuit Software of Mountain View, Calif. He received his graduate and undergraduate degrees from Columbia University, where he coached football, as well.

James Campbell graduated from the Naval Academy in 1964 and flew combat missions in Vietnam. He also was a 1972 graduate of the Navy's elite fighter weapons school Top Gun in Miramar, Calif. He had a lucrative career in resort development.

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