St. Peter’s Catholic School receives grant from Coastal Community Foundation

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By Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer

On Friday, June 28 the Coastal Community Foundation presented a $15,000 check to board members, clergy and staff of St. Peter’s Catholic School as part of a grant to fund the Learning Center of Beaufort County at the Lady’s Island school. St. Peter’s matched the grant and will implement the Learning Center under the umbrella of their established curriculum during the school day.

The Coastal Community Foundation’s ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life in Beaufort County by supporting the network of non-profits that serve our community.

Edna Crews, Regional Vice President of the Coastal Community Foundation, supports and encourages the collaboration of non-profits to seek grants.

“Our job is to facilitate relationships in order to evaluate and approve grants. This collaboration between St. Peter’s Catholic School and The Learning Center of Beaufort County is a win-win. Additionally, we have an obligation to continue to provide this fund for The Learning Center of Beaufort in perpetuity. It will always be here,” explains Crews.

Joseph Benning, principal of the school, is excited about the new endeavor.

“This opportunity will allow our students to receive help in the early grades, so that by the time they reach middle school, they will have improved their reading and math skills,” explains Benning.

Rob Wilson, board president, agrees.

“I echo the sentiments of Mr. Benning. As a parent of four, I personally appreciate the opportunity,” says Wilson.

The Learning Center of Beaufort will offer students the chance to fully engage in a meaningful learning process, effectively utilize their distinctive learning styles and productively pursue ongoing academic achievement. And most importantly, The Learning Center will be available to every child in Beaufort County at a variety of locations.

All too often, children who possess an alternative to the verbal learning style get frustrated with mainstream teaching methods and abandon their will to learn. Students become apathetic; but, it’s not their fault. They just learn differently than most. The misunderstanding begins when many people can’t figure out why an intelligent person can’t read at their expected level. The mistreating begins when students are simply encouraged to “try harder.”

Malcolm Goodridge, founder and benefactor of The Learning Center of Beaufort County, understands this frustration. He is dyslexic. And he says his dyslexia is his greatest asset.

Goodridge remembers growing up and being called a “dummy” all the way through school. He took remedial reading classes to assist him, but they didn’t help much. He fought hard through school to overcome his learning disability, eventually going on to a distinguished career as a senior executive with American Express. Now retired, he thanks his struggle with dyslexia for his continued ambition toward success.

“I think that if I was a normal kid, I wouldn’t have the drive for success that I have now. I was pushed down so far, I had to figure out a way to survive,” says Goodridge.

Heather Rembold, parent and former teacher, appreciates Goodridge’s outreach to the community and adds, “I’d like to personally thank Malcolm Goodridge. This program will complement our small class sizes, so that teachers can concentrate on their lessons and students who need extra help will get the full attention they deserve.”

Crews agrees, “When Malcolm (Goodridge) first approached the Coastal Community Foundation, he wanted to find a way to provide services to all children, regardless of where they lived in Beaufort County. His desire was to see kids get the assistance they deserve in order to have a full life like his.”

D.C. Gilley, Board Member of the Coastal Community Foundation agrees.

“It’s exciting to see this partnership become reality. This is a great day for Beaufort county children,” says Gilley.

Father Paul MacNeil adds, “The parish and the school rejoice on this day. Our students will continue to learn under the umbrella of Christian tradition as we expand our program.”

In addition to Malcolm Goodridge, the board of the Learning Center of Beaufort County consists of Charles Kresch, past President of the Beaufort County Board of Education and David House, Board member of Beaufort Memorial Hospital and AMIkids. For more information or to donate to the endowment, please contact Edna Crews at edna@coastalcommunityfoundation.org or call (843) 379-3400.