Poetic teachers Mike Maiorano and Michelle Lavey (back row) show off some of the St. John's newest equipment with the help of Jason Mannella, Grade 5, Mya Chamber, Grade 5 and Dante Salvatori, Grade 4 (left to right). photo courtesy of St. John Catholic Elementary School

Best Buy grant brings $20,000 for Beamsville school

  • March 8, 2012

Beamsville, Ont.'s St. John Catholic Elementary School is one of 12 schools from across the country that will enhance its technological capabilities thanks to a $20,000 grant from Best Buy Canada.

The money will be used to upgrade outdated technology at the school in the small town located just west of St. Catharines, Ont.

"We are very excited and we think it is going to be very beneficial to our students," said Michael Maiorano, Grade 5 teacher at St. John. "Technology is always going out and you always need new technology and we think that is beneficial to our students."

This year's Best in Class Fund, a nationwide donation program begun by the electronics chain in 2008, welcomed applications from any school housing students from kindergarten through Grade 8. Applicants were required to send a description of the school to highlight how this grant, and the technology purchased with it, would benefit the students. In addition, Maiorano and colleague Michelle Lavey wrote a poem to supplement their application - the full poem is included below. Of the 250 submissions, St. John's stood out as the only one accompanied by poetry.  

In the 17 rhyming couplets written by the duo two lines sum up their attitudes towards contemporary teaching.

"Teaching in the digital age can be quite a feat,
if we all had projectors that would be sweet!"

Lavey, who's classroom is already fitted with a projector, uses YouTube frequently to show students new math concepts, digital science labs and commercials for her media course.

"It's how they learn. They're 21st-century learners so this is what they're use to," said Lavey, adding that it's not only students who benefit from this newer method of educating. "That's improved my teaching and I hope in turn will inform their achievements as well."

The school has already spent 75 per cent of the grant, purchasing eight laptops, eight LCD projectors and six digital cameras. Each laptop/projector combo will also be equipped with external speakers, a microphone and a high resolution webcam opening the virtual door to the world. With the remaining $5,000 the school plans to purchase tablets to access a WiFi network provided by the Niagara District Catholic School Board.

"We want to advance learning with children in the classroom and help them advance their skills with the help of technology," said Victoria Foley, Best Buy's community relations manager. "Elementary schools have a big need for technology. It can bring learning to life in the classroom."

To date the program's total donations exceed $1 million.



by Michael Maiorano and Michelle Lavey


Welcome to Beamsville, to St. John School,
this is the place where the Jaguars rule!

Our grades range from J.K to Grade 8,
And applying for this grant, there was no debate!

Teachers, students and staff at our school,
all think technology and Best Buy are cool.

We have 340 kids that we teach,
and sometimes we find it difficult to reach.

The needs of all kids, they vary a lot,
depending on the day, their needs can be forgot.

All kids are unique and special in their own way,
it is our job as educators to ensure they enjoy school, each and every day.

20,000 dollars to purchase technology,
how awesome and amazing would that be?

Tablets, projectors, iPods and docks,
camcorders, cameras and laptops that rock.

Inspiring our students is what teachers do,
and with Best Buy’s help we can start something new.

Teaching in the digital age can be quite a feat,
if we all had projectors that would be sweet!

As educators we are taught to teach to the mass,
with technology the students can now teach to the class.

YouTube, iTunes, Google and more,
we need technology to see all that’s in store.

With children’s abilities ranging in ages and minds,
reaching all students is what we’re striving to find.

A common ground for all those in our school,
Is to use technology in ways kids think is cool.

It is safe to say our school is without,
engaging technology, and with that thought, we pout.

The only way to put a smile on our face,
is for Best Buy to award us with the ace.

Thank you for considering St. John for the Best in Class Fund,
by winning the grant, our smiles will be as bright as the sun.

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