CHURCH LIFE

Versacare Grants Support STEM Programs in Pacific Union Schools

Newsdesk Versacare Grants Support STEM Programs in Pacific Union Schools

By Charles C. Sandefur, with Faith Hoyt

On March 6, 2020, Versacare Foundation, a self-funded, independent private foundation that exists to support ministries of the Seventh-day Adventist church, awarded $1,435,000 in grant funding to 189 Adventist primary and secondary schools across the United States and Canada in support of STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)—$285,000 of which was awarded to schools in the Pacific Union Conference.
This was Versacare Foundation’s fifth successive year funding STEM grants, and this marked the third consecutive year it funded every school that applied for a STEM grant.
The STEM grant program has provided funding in three categories: $5,000 for smaller schools of three classrooms or less; $10,000 for larger schools of four or more classrooms and 12-year schools; and $10,000 for senior academies.
“We have heard from smaller schools that their $5000 STEM grant is helping them retain students that would otherwise go elsewhere,” said Tom Macomber, president of Versacare. “That is a huge bonus when our objective all along has been to assist the schools by enhancing their ability to teach STEM subjects, and that assistance is helping keep their doors open. The lesson for me is that STEM education is vital, both for teaching skills the students will use the rest of their lives but also for keeping our schools competitive when compared to the local public schools.”
The many uses of STEM funds include the purchase of classroom smart boards, tablets or Chromebooks for student use, equipping or updating student computer labs, installation of 3D printers and related software, initiating or funding robotics programs, instruction in software coding, the equipping of chemistry, physics, and biology labs, and more.
Through 2020, Versacare Foundation has provided 417 schools with a total of $3,260,000 in STEM grant funding. After funding nearly half of all Adventist primary and secondary schools across the NAD with STEM grants, Versacare Foundation has ended its STEM school grant program and for 2021 will focus on funding STEM training for teachers. For more information about Versacare Foundation’s grant program, visit www.versacare.org.
Following is a complete list of the Pacific Union Conference schools funded in 2020:

Arizona Conference
• Cochise SDA Christian School, $5,000
• Prescott Adventist Christian School, $5,000

Central California Conference
• Hollister SDA Christian School, $5,000
• Peninsula Adventist School, $5,000
• Sierra View Junior Academy, $10,000
• VHM Christian School, $10,000

Hawaii Conference
• Mauna Loa School, $5,000
• Hawaiian Mission Academy Ka Lama Iki, $10,000

Nevada-Utah Conference
• Fallon Adventist Christian School (Nevada), $5,000
• Summit Christian Academy (Utah), $10,000

Northern California Conference
• Echo Ridge Christian School, $5,000
• Foothills Adventist Elementary School, $10,000
• Hilltop Christian School, $10,000
• Napa Christian Campus of Education, $10,000
• Orangevale Adventist School, $10,000
• Pacific Union College Elementary School, $10,000
• Paradise Adventist Academy, $10,000
• Pine Hills Adventist Academy, $10,000
• Rio Lindo Adventist Academy, $10,000
• Westlake Seventh-day Adventist School, $5,000

Southeastern California Conference
• El Cajon SDA Christian School,
$5,000
• Hemet Adventist Christian School, $5,000
• La Sierra Academy,
$10,000
• Mesa Grande Academy,
$10,000
• Murrieta Springs Adventist Christian Academy, $10,000
• Oceanside Adventist Elementary, $10,000
• Redlands Adventist Academy,
$10,000
• Victor Valley SDA School,
$5,000

Southern California Conference
• Antelope Valley Adventist School, $10,000
• Glendale Adventist Academy, $10,000
• Newbury Park Adventist Academy, $10,000
• San Diego Academy, $10,000
• San Fernando Valley Academy, $10,000
• Simi Valley Adventist School,
$10,000

La Sierra Academy is one of Versacare’s 2020 grant recipients. The academy, together with the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce and the Southeastern California Conference, celebrated the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of their brand-new STEAM Lab (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) in the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

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