Verner Elementary School library to get STEM section through grant next school year
Verner Elementary’s library will undergo a makeover next year as part of a grant-funded project.
Riverview School District was one of 16 organizations selected to receive a $50,000 Blueprint for Learning grant through Remake Learning and the Grable Foundation.
The district’s application was crafted by Riverview seniors and Key Club president Molly McCague, vice president Emma Galiardi, treasurer Hannah Lowe and secretary Alivia Schultheis.
“It was definitely a different experience,” Molly said. “It was more than just writing an essay for a grade. It was something that would have an impact on so many people.”
The plan is to redesign a space in the Verona school’s library for STEM education — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
High school life-skills teacher and Key Club sponsor Mike MacConnell said they are still in the design phase. No construction is expected to take place until after the current school year.
“We envision the Verner teachers and the Verner students using it as a flexibility space where they can do STEM projects, maker space activities, mindfulness and an additional meeting space,” MacConnell said.
Alivia and Emma attended Verner Elementary as youngsters.
They said it felt “very empowering” to give back to the community and give back to Verner.
Students met with designers and architects in September as part of cohort sessions, one of the grant’s requirements. Their next meeting is Oct. 25.
Hannah said the process has become a great learning opportunity, and she plans to become an architect and interior designer.
“Me and my friends get to make a space and actually design it from scratch pretty much,” she said. “It’s nice because we’re from such a small community and can come back for holidays and see how much it has changed or (what they’ve) done with the space.”
Club members presented their project to the school board, which gave them its full support.
“We’re very proud of them,” School Director Alex DiClaudio said. “I think it’s fantastic because they’re the only group awarded this grant that was made up entirely of students. They brought a sense of creativity to this project. They brought their knowledge of student needs to the project. They’ve all gone through our school system and have a better understanding that adults can hope to (achieve). It’s been a really great experience for them.”
The students hope to work with local businesses to get more funding for the project.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .