Brooklyn Boro

St. Joseph’s High School gets go-to-college funding help from National Grid

December 12, 2014 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Students at St. Joseph’s High School try out some of the new computers National Grid donated. Clockwise: George Mayhew, director of corporate affairs at National Grid; Max Currie, CIO of National Grid; Ki-Ani Williams, Ashlee Joseph and Zizette Gomez. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese

Good fences make good neighbors, but in the case of St. Joseph’s High School, good neighbors make college possible.

National Grid, in conjunction with the National Grid Foundation, donated $20,000 and 20 computers to St. Joseph’s High School on Tuesday. The contribution has gone directly toward helping to get more students into competitive colleges.

“This is a small school, just 328 young women, and a lot of them will be the first of their families to go off to college,” said Sister Joan Gallagher. “Many are low-income, working families, and that’s why it’s important that we get them all of the assistance we possibly can to get girls that would have not otherwise gone to college into a good school.”

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Grants like the one from the National Grid Foundation have made a significant impact on the girls at St. Joseph’s. In January 2013, the school began putting grant money toward a comprehensive SAT review program and expanded the college counseling department.

“It really enables us to hire an SAT tutor and formalize SAT Prep,” trustee Kathleen Weigel said. “It has also allowed us to provide them with college prep materials. Some of that money has gone toward a full-time college guidance counselor. It lets us help them do more research for colleges and look up assistance for financial aid planning.”

That fall, the school established an SAT prep program with 20 students attending 14 prep sessions. The students’ scores immediately increased, so the school expanded the program to 21 juniors and 30 sessions that were 15 minutes longer. Again, scores increased. Last year, 88 percent of graduating seniors from St. Joseph’s went off to colleges, and the school hopes that it will send even more this year.

National Grid has been an essential ally in continuing to aid St. Joseph’s college prep efforts. After the school put in an application for the $20,000 National Grid grant, executives from the National Grid Foundation visited the campus and recognized that the school desperately needed more computers. The foundation arranged for the local company — with a location less than two blocks from the school — to donate 20 computers on top of the grant money.

“They saw what we were doing on limited resources, so when they went back, they approved the grant — but then internally the company decided to donate the computers as well.”


Karen Young, spokeswoman for National Grid, said the company prides itself on investing in the local community and was glad to help.

“We’re very involved in the community because this is where we live and work,” Young said. “We work with various organizations throughout the community and this was something that we thought the school could use. We’re always looking for different ways we can assist our neighbors.”

 


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