Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union gift allows St. Francis to build technology center

Carolynn Mostyn
Suburbanite correspondent

COVENTRY TWP.  Technology was the focus for students at St. Francis De Sales Catholic School in Coventry Township as the new school year began. That is because the children discovered the school had a brand-new technology center.

Decorated with an arch of black, red and white balloons the children were welcomed back to school in September. After children were safely in the building, a check presentation took place under the balloon arch as the center was made possible through a $10,000 grant from the Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union. A large check and plaque were presented to the Principal Katie Dougherty.

St. Francis De Sales in Coventry Township was awarded a $10,000 gift from Ohio Catholic Credit Union which allowed the school to build a new technology center.

“We are so blessed by this gift and the support of the Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union," she said.

The presentation took place outside of the building and students and staff watched through video. Catholic Development and Outreach Coordinator Dean Robinson presented the check and a plaque to Dougherty and said in keeping with its commitment to support Catholic education, Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union awarded $77,000 in Catholic school grants in 2020 to a total of 43 Catholic schools across the state of Ohio. He was pleased to present St. Francis with the check for $10,000 and said it was one of two $10,000 grant winners in the state. There were also, four $5,000 grants given.

Robinson said technology is not one of the things the organization would give the larger grant for because they look at those as upgrades to computers and iPads and as an ongoing thing. But he said that Dougherty wrote such a wonderful grant, and that the word "tinker" swayed it to St. Francis' favor.

Robinson read from the grant, “we hope to renovate our current technology lab to a think central station where students can tinker until their heart is content, build and learn alongside each other and create useful and needed items that can potentially solve real world problems.”

Robinson said that describes a whole student right there and “that is why I believe the committee chose St. Francis De Sales school as one of the $10,000 grant recipients.”

“For any students, parents that are watching this today, I want you to stand a little taller as you have a heck of a principal, a heck of a priest running your school and running your parish. I hope you are excited about this technology center that is going on in there (the school building). I think it is going to be a great addition to the community, the parish and school and it is going to turn out a lot of better students and we are happy to be a part of this,” Robinson said.

Dougherty said on behalf of Father Jeremy Merzweiler and herself and the whole parish, school, and community, they are blessed with this partnership.

“We look for opportunities to help us educate the students’ heart and their minds," Dougherty said. "What better opportunity than this to partner with someone in our community that believes in helping kids thrive.”

She said it was not just about updating computers it is about a great place for kids to think and grow and really come into their own and become great people.

“That is what we hope to do at Catholic schools is to put people out into the community that are going to be of service to others," Dougherty said.

The grant enabled the school to enhance its technology lab well beyond updating computers and as Dougherty said, it allowed for more student “tinkering” and “creating” in a maker space environment.

“We transformed our whole center it is a pretty awesome thing,” she said.

The school is made up of 340 students and the school has been teaching children for 72 years.

The credit union tithes 10 percent of its earnings back to the Catholic community. Robinson said CEO Todd Turner was the one who instituted that policy of giving back. Turner was present at the check presentation. This year, $200,000 went back into the Catholic community.  

During the past seven years, the Credit Union has awarded more than $800,000 to Catholic schools in the form of grants, scholarships and charitable donations. Robinson said they were very excited to be there for the check presentation. In addition to financial assistance, Ohio Catholic FCU also offers a Catholic School Challenge Grant Program, a free Catholic School Speaker Series, financial literacy programs, on-site student banking programs, and special offers for all employees of Catholic schools.

Dougherty said she is confident that students will use the skills they learn in the lab to make the world a better place.

“Our students love to be of service and many of the items in the new technology lab allow them to create and build things to help others," she said.