Benefactor funds St. Theresa’s computer lab

Computer and technology teacher Catherine Pizzaro (above) stands with one of two new smart boards that were donated to St. Theresa School by Antonio Martello. Photo by Patrick Rocchio

A glowing new computer lab containing 34 workstations and 2 white “smart” boards will be available with Internet access and all kinds of new programs thanks to a generous gift to the students of St. Theresa School from a Pelham Gardens resident.

Before he passed away, Antonio “Tony” Martello amended his will to include a generous gift for a computer lab that bought St. Theresa’s computer program state-of-the-art new equipment after he heard that the children in the school were praying for him. Martello suffered through a kidney illness that ultimately claimed his life.

Family members and friends of Martello came to the school for a dedication ceremony on Friday, January 30 in which Fr. Robert Grippo blessed the lab which will serve the hundreds of students in the school.

“We are very proud of our new computer lab,” Grippo said. “I have been pastor of St. Theresa’s for 18 years and we have put a lot of things in place to make us, we like to think, the best school here in the Bronx and maybe even the Archdiocese.”

Martello’s friend, Michael Tusiani, said at the ceremony that he felt that Tony was repaying the children of the school for their prayers during his time of crisis.

“Tony was diagnosed with kidney disease a few years ago, and then heard that the children of St. Theresa’s school were praying for him,” Tusiani said. “This really surprised him. I think he is repaying the kids here with the computers and thanking them for their prayers when he needed them.”

For the children of the school, it is a slam-dunk win that will help them succeed in education with the most advanced instructional technology available today.

“This gift really helped us enormously, because up until a few months ago we were working on an old system that just had the students do keyboarding,” said computer/technology teacher Catherine Pizarro. “The students are now fully connected to the Internet, and can do desktop publishing, make brochures, and even put out a small school newspaper.”

Pizarro said that in a very small amount of time, the children and the school have come a long way in terms of integrating technology across the curriculum. This is true of English teachers who are showing children how to diagram sentences on the smart boards and art teachers who now have a new vehicle for the visual arts.

“I teach art two days a week and I try to use technology when I instruct the students about all of the different periods,” said teacher Barbara Kay. “The gift provides an exciting array of educational tools.”

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