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The Florida Catholic

STEM brings together students of two schools

INDIANTOWN  |   Sixth- through eighth-grade girls involved in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) program at St. Vincent Ferrer School in Delray Beach recently visited Hope Rural School in Indiantown to conduct a science fair and expo. They were accompanied by St. Vincent’s STEM administrator Lisa Gustinelli and Principal Denise O’Loughlin. 

In April 2020, three middle-school students in Gustinelli’s Design Thinking elective entered a Palm Beach County “Shark Tank”-like competition called Philanthropy Tank. Their proposal was selected, and they were awarded $13,500 to create an Idea Lab at the Indiantown Catholic school. They used the money to supply the school with technologies such as robotics, STEM activity kits, 3D printers, iPads and software. Their philanthropy’s mission statement is “to empower students by teaching them to become problem solvers through the Design Thinking method.” 

Students at St. Vincent Ferrer continue to support the program by not only making visits to Hope Rural, but by collaborating with the media specialist to teach design thinking and STEM classes via Zoom. Sister Elizabeth Dunn, Hope Rural’s director, and Sister Martha Rohde, principal, have been key in supporting the project and maintaining ties with the students at St. Vincent Ferrer and Hope Rural.

For more on St. Vincent Ferrer School, visit For Hope Rural School, go to