Anonymous donor's gift a big boost for Arlington Heights school

  • Thanks to a recent donation, now all students at St. James School in Arlington Heights will be getting an iPad for technology-based learning.

    Thanks to a recent donation, now all students at St. James School in Arlington Heights will be getting an iPad for technology-based learning. Courtesy of St. James School

  • Gina Zebron, technology coordinator at St. James School, teaches a computer science lesson using a smartboard. A recent donation will put a smartboard in every classroom that doesn't yet have one at the Arlington Heights school.

    Gina Zebron, technology coordinator at St. James School, teaches a computer science lesson using a smartboard. A recent donation will put a smartboard in every classroom that doesn't yet have one at the Arlington Heights school. Courtesy of St. James School

 
 
Updated 7/24/2020 5:53 AM

A donor's most recent contribution to St. James School in Arlington Heights is enough to purchase an iPad for every student and put a smartboard in every classroom.

The local man, who wishes to remain anonymous, recently gave $155,000 to St. James, allowing the school to purchase more than 100 iPads - so now all 483 students have them - and 13 more smartboards for the remaining half of classrooms that didn't have them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The recent gift was on top of some $400,000 the same donor, described by school leaders as a youth advocate and technology enthusiast, has given in recent years.

"He is a wonderful steward of our community, not just at St. James, but for our entire city of Arlington Heights at large," said Julie Cohen, the school's development director. "I refer to him as our angel donor."

St. James is planning to start the school year Aug. 18 with in-person instruction five days a week. But if health conditions necessitate students learning remotely, the iPads can go.

"It allows us to have access to education no matter what the situation calls for," said Principal Mike Kendrick. "One of our mantras at St. James is 'find a way.' We don't let the challenges slow us down. ... We will not stop the educational flow, no matter where we are located."

Other recent donations have funded a number of capital projects around the school campus, including gym bleachers installed this week, a refurbished cafeteria over the summer, new playground last summer and the Bulldog Commons area.

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