Foundation’s support boosts elementary school


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SAN DIEGO — Financial support from the St. Augustine Foundation has strengthened Our Lady’s School, particularly in math and science instruction and technology.

Such bonds benefit Catholic schools across the diocese, enriching academic and extracurricular activities for the students.

Jesuit Father Mike Lee is the principal at Our Lady’s School, which has two campuses in San Diego. One is located in Barrio Logan, adjacent to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, and offers transitional kindergarten to second grade; the other is located in Sherman Heights, adjacent to Our Lady of Angels Church, and offers third to eighth grade.

Father Lee said the St. Augustine Foundation awarded the school two $54,000 grants. The first, given in 2021, allowed the school to buy a top-of-the-line math curriculum for kindergarten to eighth grade, and science curriculum for sixth- to eighth-graders.

The other grant, awarded last summer, allowed the school to buy new Chromebooks for all sixth- to eighth-graders, and 11 laptops, one for each teacher. The teachers often used their own aged computers for classwork.

The Our Lady’s School Alumni Association raised funds through the annual Father Brown Memorial Golf Tournament to create a modern math and science lab at the Sherman Heights campus. The event was greatly supported by alumni from St. Augustine High School. Association members held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 3 for the lab, which also bears the name of Father Brown, and the students have been using it ever since.

Mariam Guirguis teaches math and science to the school’s sixth- to eighth-graders.

“The new lab means a lot of amazing opportunities for our students to be able to grow more academically, to really put them in a trajectory toward a Catholic high school and college,” she said at the lab’s inauguration.

Our Lady’s School also has a partnership with a retired attorney who buys books in English and Spanish for the students, said Father Lee, who said the donor requested to remain anonymous.

He said that the attorney told him that his mother was a librarian and that he had naturally grown up reading books. The attorney is convinced that reading helped him to get into a top university and to become a successful lawyer — and he now wants to help students by making sure they have access to books.

“We’re able to send our students home with a book they want to read and keep,” Father Lee said, “and we encourage parents to read with their kids, especially if they are little.”

The school’s students have benefited not only from the recent grants, but also from hours of tutoring from a retired educator.

All of the members of the school’s 2022 graduating class were able to enter local Catholic high schools, the principal said, some of them receiving significant scholarships to be able to attend.

“It’s the first time in memory that’s happened,” Father Lee said.

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