room to grow

St. Bernard’s spring science fair

Science classrooms at St. Bernard School, which serves preschool through grade 8, are about to receive a drastic makeover. Plans call for modernized technology and equipment such as standard lab tables, instead of small desks being pushed together to create adequate space for experiments, with a goal of creating “an environment both students and teachers need to perform well,” says Sister Daniela Bronka, Principal of St. Bernard School. The auxiliary lab has already been completed and will serve as a substitute classroom until construction on the main lab finishes this summer.

Extra-curricular activities will also benefit from the renovated labs. Snapology, where students use building tools such as LEGO bricks to experiment with technology and engineering concepts, and Eco-Explorers, which focuses on environmentally and ecologically-themed science exploration, both regularly use lab equipment. Gardening club members, in 7th and 8th grade, will have updated workspaces to create plans and construct additional planter boxes, says garden helper Mary Grace Rodgers.

St. Bernard second graders

Approximately 141 students in grades kindergarten through eight were enrolled in science club last year, says moderator Bernadette Hurst-Hartman, who hopes the club will grow with the renovation of the science lab underway.

Now with more than 20 individual science clubs, including after school activities provided by the University of Pittsburgh’s mobile labs and the PA Junior Academy of Science, up-to-date science classrooms are the final piece of the puzzle to improve organization and hands-on activities for students and teachers. If you would like to donate to the science initiative, contact Elizabeth Mick at for more information.

Photography by Jacqueline Radin