Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Greco Middle hopes media center transformation transforms lives

TEMPLE TERRACE — While their primary purposes are much different, the nonprofit Heart of America organization and AbbVie, a for-profit pharmaceutical company, share a passion for helping people in need.

That commonality drew them into a recent partnership to transform a large part of Greco Middle School's 55-year-old media center into a multicolored, multifaceted modern-day Makerspace.

Equipped with a 3-D printer, iPads, a LEGO wall, a Sphero coding robot and many other technology oriented gizmos, it's designed as an area where students can tinker, collaborate and be creative. The space also aims to entice the young people to future careers in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) fields.

Heart of America — whose mission is to improve the educational environment in aging schools across the country to enhance students' learning experiences — teamed up with AbbVie, which funded the Greco project.

The company also sent a volunteer crew of employees to remove the space's old shelving, paint the walls, assemble new bookshelves, install whiteboards and affix colored circles containing quotes from numerous not- able individuals throughout the world.

In addition, AbbVie donated the multitude of learning tools and art supplies for the Makerspace, as well as a few furniture pieces and an eye-catching new rug to highlight the space.

Moreover, the company added 250 new books to the media center's collection and provided knapsacks and individual cards of well wishes for every Greco student who walked through its gates on the first day of school Thursday.

Keylow King, a medical science liaison at AbbVie, was among the company's volunteer contingent that completed the project in a single day.

"It means a lot just to know the kids will come back to school with an opportunity to grow," said King, who noted that when the undertaking was finished he and several others in the group rewarded themselves by toying with the iPads and a few of the other gadgets his corporation contributed.

Jill Heath, president and CEO of the Heart of America Foundation said transforming learning and changing lives is important to both her organization and to AbbVie.

"You can't describe it as anything else but amazing, especially in this climate we are in with cuts to our budget and everything," said Greco principal Valerie Newton.

"I don't think I've ever smiled so much," she added.

Greco's media specialist Deborah Griner said when she learned an area in the school's library had been chosen for what she described afterwards as a "home makeover," she was ecstatic, but really didn't know what to expect.

"I love everything about it, including the variety of colors and the brightness of the space and I know the kids will, too," said Griner, who is soon to begin her 11th year at Greco. "I usually greet them at the door on the first day of school, but this year I plan to stand in that space."

Greco PTSA President Alison Fernandez, mother of four boys, remarked that because all kids enjoy doing hands-on projects, that in itself should draw most every Greco student to the new Makerspace.

"I think that's what makes this project so important," she said. "The kids can see the relevancy of what they are doing and so it's worth it to them to participate."

Over the last 20 years Heart of America has transformed more than 360 educational spaces and provided more than 4-million library and take home books to children in economically disadvantaged communities.

And in 2016 alone, AbbVie employees volunteered more than 25,000 service hours in 50 countries.

Contact Joyce McKenzie at [email protected]

Greco Middle hopes media center transformation transforms lives 08/11/17 [Last modified: Friday, August 11, 2017 3:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe

    College

    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]
  2. Editorial: Trump uses Americans' health care as bargaining chip

    Editorials

    Unable to persuade Congress to kill the Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump appears determined to do the dirty work himself. The president's unilateral actions are aimed at driving up premiums, steering healthy people away from the federal marketplace and ensuring his inaccurate description of the law as a …

    Unable to persuade Congress to kill the Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump appears determined to do the dirty work himself.
  3. Port Richey fire chief charged with DUI, hitting a cop in the face

    Crime

    PORT RICHEY — The Port Richey fire chief crashed a motorcycle, showed signs of impairment and hit a New Port Richey police officer in the face after being taken to the hospital Sunday night, according to a police report.

    A screenshot from the web site of Little Corona's Cigar Lounge, owned by Port Richey Fire Chief Timothy Fussell, who was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and battery on a law enforcement officer Sunday night.
  4. Trump: Cuba 'is responsible' for attacks on U.S. personnel

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he believes Cuba "is responsible" for attacks on American government personnel in Havana.

    President Donald Trump answers questions as he speaks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., in the rose Garden after their meeting at the White House, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, in Washington. [Associated Press]
  5. Sports anchor Tom Korun leaving WFTS after decades in Tampa Bay TV

    Blogs

    WFTS ABC Action News sports anchor and director Tom Korun is retiring from broadcasting after more than 14 years at the station and 31 years on Tampa Bay TV screens.

    Tom Korun is retiring after 31 years on Tampa Bay television.