Mr. Keith Galley (second from right) was honored at halftime of the Citrus Bowl.
When Notre Dame played LSU in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on New Year's Day, Notre Dame walked off the field with more than just a rousing victory. St. Patrick Catholic School, a Notre Dame ACE Academy in Largo, Florida, walked away with the means to start its first STEM classroom.
"This will give students an opportunity to explore coding, engineering and robotics, which are areas we haven't been able to explore before this gift." - Mr. Keith Galley
Thanks to the generosity of Florida Citrus Sports and the College Football Playoff Foundation, St. Patrick received $10,000 for a much-needed STEM classroom. Each organization gave $5,000 to the school.
"We are so appreciative of the support from Florida Citrus Sports and the College Football Playoff Foundation," said St. Patrick Principal Keith Galley, who was honored alongside four Orlando-area educators at halftime on the field at Camping World Stadium. "This gives our students an experience they would never otherwise have."
The school will use the gift to start a classroom within its media center specializing in science, technology, engineering, and math. The school will equip the space with a 3D printer, an interactive whiteboard and smart projector, and robotic and coding kits.
St. Patrick is one of 15 Notre Dame ACE Academies, a network of Catholic schools run in collaborations between the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) and partner (arch)dioceses. ACE works with the Diocese of St. Petersburg to support St. Patrick. The school serves about 170 students, and 80 percent of them qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. More than 90 percent of students receive some level of financial aid in order to attend.
"This will give students an opportunity to explore coding, engineering and robotics, which are areas we haven't been able to explore before this gift," said Galley, a graduate of ACE's Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program. "It will play a major part in preparing them for college and graduate degrees."
"Florida Citrus Sports is thrilled to contribute to first-class institutions like St. Patrick and Notre Dame's ACE program," Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan said. "Honoring the teaching profession and inspiring matching contributions with the stage provided by college football are goals of ours. A great New Year's Day game feels extra special when 170 students at St. Patrick Catholic School get the STEM classroom they deserve."
ACE and the College Football Playoff Foundation have worked together to raise awareness and resources for ACE through the Extra Yard for Teachers initiative. The partnership has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for ACE over the past three years, including $300,000 in matching funds from the College Football Playoff Foundation.
"This gift from Florida Citrus Sports and the College Football Playoff Foundation opens up new opportunities for the children who need them most," said John Staud, ACE's executive. "It continues the great partnership between the Foundation and Notre Dame Athletics."
Florida Citrus Sports is a not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to increasing community spirit and pride, promoting tourism, stimulating economic development and ultimately benefiting charities, educational institutions and the quality of life in Central Florida through its signature events, which include the Citrus Bowl, the Camping World Bowl, and the NFL Pro Bowl.
The College Football Playoff Foundation (CFP) Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which serves as the charitable arm of the College Football Playoff. The Foundation is committed to supporting education across the country, primarily through teachers and the Extra Yard for Teachers. The mission of Extra Yard for Teachers is to elevate the teaching profession by inspiring and empowering quality teachers.
The Notre Dame ACE Academies were established to strengthen and sustain existing parish and diocesan Catholic elementary schools using research-proven methods to address every aspect of schooling, including classroom instruction, Catholic school culture, resource management, and leadership development.