St. Hubert students Tessa Revelle (left) and Bianca Lopez discuss the school’s current robotics project, a 26-lb. device that can complete a range of mechanical tasks. The archdiocesan high school has been awarded a $75,000 grant that will be used to transform an exterior courtyard into outdoor classroom space for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) instruction. (Photo by Gina Christian)

An archdiocesan high school has broken ground on a project designed to create space for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) initiatives, while bringing beauty to both campus and community.

On Oct. 23, students and staff from St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls in Northeast Philadelphia joined elected officials and supporters in kicking off the school’s Courtyard Project. Funded by a $75,000 grant from the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development, the undertaking will reshape the roughly 2,500 square foot area into an outdoor classroom.

“The face of our school changes constantly, and tonight marks another change,” said principal Gerry Laskowski.

State Senator John Sabatina, who sponsored the grant application, said that the project would enhance the school’s overall mission to “enable young women to excel in today’s world.”

Sabatina, a graduate of Resurrection of Our Lord Parish School and Father Judge High School, commended the core values of Catholic education, and – noting this his wife was a St. Hubert alumna – joked, “The smartest thing I ever did was to marry a Bambie.”

St. Hubert president Lizanne Pando reflected that having had her “heart stolen by 500 girls,” she was “committed to creating tomorrow, today” for them.

At an Oct. 23 ground breaking event, students from St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls display plans for a courtyard renovation that will create an outdoor classroom for use in the school’s STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) curriculum. (Gina Christian)

Students Tessa Revelle and Bianca Lopez are accelerating that process through their work with the school’s robotics club.

Now in its seventh year, the group participates in the First Robotics Competition, an international face-off that attracts more than 95,000 participants from 35 countries. Teams must fund, build and program an industrial-sized robot under strict guidelines and time constraints.

“It helps us build leadership and teamwork skills,” said Revelle, a senior, who joined Lopez in showing off the team’s 26-lb. creation, which can navigate a number of mechanical tasks.

Lopez, a junior, added that the project invited students to “take a greater interest in science.”

The Oct. 23 kickoff — which was also attended by staff from the offices of State Representative Mike Driscoll and City Councilman Bobby Henon – concluded with a reception, tours of the school, performances from the St. Hubert Orchestra and displays of student works from the art and fashion/textiles departments.