Berges Innovation Center Opens at Marian Middle School

[iwfquote align=”right”]The spirit of IWF is imbedded in us.[/iwfquote]

Faculty, staff, students and benefactors of Marian Middle School gathered at the school May 17 to witness the blessing and ribbon-cutting of the Berges Family Innovation Center. The center is a total renovation of the school’s lower level and includes a STEM lab and a “Maker” room where students learn to refurbish furniture for women in transitional housing, hold their robotics classes and even work on a motorcycle. There is a culinary arts area that includes not only the school cafeteria but a presentation kitchen where students and their parents learning cooking skills, and a school library.

School President Mary Elizabeth Grimes said the renovation began as a library project, but the students saw the possibility for something else. They offered to raise money to build an expanded center. Happily the students have their center, but it was the community, not the students who funded the project.

The Incarnate Word Foundation is one of a long list of donors for this ambitious project. But Mary Elizabeth said that isn’t surprising. “The Incarnate Word Foundation is one of the cornerstones of who we are,” she said. “They faithfully supported us when we opened and stayed with us until we became established. They are still with us. The spirit of IWF is imbedded in us.”

Marian Middle School, located at 4130 Wyoming Street in South St. Louis, is the area’s only Catholic all-girls middle school. Ninety percent of their students live below the poverty level. It is sponsored by several communities of women religious, and its core values include quality education, service to foster justice and peace, and a faith-filled life. Their values mirror IWF’s commitment to empowering the poor and marginalized, especially children, attain a higher quality of life.