ICSF supporters visit Revere school for annual Bus Tour

REVERE -- The 245 students of Immaculate Conception School, ranging from preschool to grade eight, were all present in the schoolyard to welcome almost 70 supporters of the Inner City Scholarship Fund during its annual Bus Tour on May 7.

Most of the people who go on the bus tour are donors to the ICSF, which is overseen by the Catholic Schools Foundation. According to a CSF press release, 81 students at Immaculate Conception are supported by the ICSF.

Immaculate Conception students led groups of guests on tours of the school. The highlight was the new STEM classroom, which was funded by global consulting firm PwC as part of its ReImagine Grant awarded to four CSF sponsored schools.

With the support of the grant, the school was able to purchase smart boards, new computers, 3D printers, new desks and safety supplies for the STEM classroom, which computer teacher Beth Sherr said will be utilized for both classes and after-school activities.

Following the tours, attendees gathered in the school's Father Brennan Hall, where CSF director Michael Reardon emceed a STEM-themed trivia game. Based on the television game show "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?," the game pitted a team of Immaculate Conception students against a team of ICSF supporters. The students won nine points to one.

Addressing the guests, Immaculate Conception Principal Stephen Hanley said that at a Catholic school, children are "not just going to acquire knowledge, they're not just going to acquire organization skills, but hopefully, along the way, they will acquire the skills of wisdom and understanding, which is the key to all knowledge. And these are gifts of the Holy Spirit."

Guests also heard from Director of Admissions Donis Tracy, who Hanley said was "the key writer" behind the proposal for the STEM lab. Tracy talked about the impact the school foresees the STEM lab will have on students.

"We will hopefully be able to teach our students not just what to do, but actually have them do it. Because it's one thing to teach them and to help them and to talk to them, it's another thing to hand them the tools and say, 'Okay, now you do it yourself.' And that's one thing I love about our school, is that we not only teach our kids, we teach our kids how to want to learn. There's no better way to want to learn than to be able to actually do something yourself," Tracy said.

Michael Sutphin, a partner at PwC and a product of Catholic education from elementary school through his post-graduate studies, spoke about his company's relationship with the school.

"PwC is really committed to social impact, and so much of what we do through our PwC charitable foundation is really dedicated to trying to help children in particular achieve their potential. So, this partnership with Inner City Scholarship Fund and Immaculate Conception has really been special to us. We can see, just in the brief time here today, the tremendous return on that investment with so many of these children. It's really an investment well spent," Sutphin said.

CSF founder and president emeritus Peter Lynch talked about the need to provide financial assistance to students in their first years of school as well as those pursuing higher education.

"Where's the money for the first grade, second grade, fourth grade, fifth grade? That's the key grades. So that's where we are," Lynch said.