NEWBURGH – Last Thursday, San Miguel Academy of Newburgh dedicated the Sister Agnes Boyle, O.P. STEAM Learning Center.
Father Mark Connel, San Miguel Academy Founder and Executive Director proudly welcomed everyone, including the extended family of Sister Agnes and members of the Dominican Sister of Hope, with whom she served and worked for her entire career.
Sister Agnes Boyle, O.P. of the Dominican Sister of Hope was instrumental in the creation and early days of San Miguel Academy. A longtime educator, Sister Agnes was a professor of Education and chair of the Division of Education at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Newburgh and went on to serve as Vice President of Academic Affairs for 30 years. She received the Mount Saint Mary College Trustee Award for her service to the college. Sister Agnes is known throughout the Hudson Valley for being the quintessential educator. One could say that sister Agnes’ calling was to be a teacher of teachers. She died in 2019 at the age of 91.
Father Mark said, “this is our 17th class that we will be accepting starting on July 1, and that represents just over 250 families… It’s hard to believe, but 250 families who are looking for choices for their children. And that’s what we are all about. That’s our singular mission to present opportunities to these families in Newburgh who otherwise would not have them and to break the cycle of poverty through education.”
The day was about the plural pronoun, Father Mark said. “It’s about the we. Make no mistake about it when the idea and the dream for a school like this began almost 20 years ago, it was clear that it had to be a collaborative effort.”
That collaborative effort has enabled the school to purchase the school building, which was built in 1960. As the owners, they are now renovating the space and Thursday was a dedication for the first renovated space. “And we hope going forward that we’ll be able to do this throughout the entire building. So this in effect, is a prototype of what we hope the future school to become,” Father Mark said.
Looking around the Sister Agnes Boyle, O.P. STEAM Learning Center you will see 3D printing, along with laser cutters, mini drones and there newest addition, a STEMPilot.
“There is a dire shortage in pilots. Pilots are retiring daily, and there is nobody to replace them. So if we want to go to and fro on this planet, we are going to need pilots really quickly,” said Father Mark.
“When you look around this school today, you will see that these children have all that they need to reach success. And that’s because we have great educators who have that vision and impart it on a daily basis to these kids. This room, kind of is symbolic of that cutting edge. We’re really thrilled with what’s happening here,” concluded Father Mark.