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South Side Education News & Notes

5/9/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

LeBron James donates $1 million to renovate STVM gym

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Unofficially, the St. Vincent-St. Mary (STVM) High School gym is known as the place where LeBron James played basketball in high school. Pretty soon, however, the gym will officially be known as “The LeBron James Arena.”

James, who graduated from the school 10 years ago, is donating $1 million to renovate STVM’s gym.

Patty Burdon, public relations manager for the high school, said the “entire gym will be gutted.”

“It will be new bleachers, new flooring, new lighting. A wall is going to be moved to accommodate the size to make this a state-of-the-art official gymnasium floor. There will be a training room also added,” she said.

Burdon said STVM first heard about James making the donation at the end of January.

“[Since January], we have been able to acquire renderings and we have had companies come in to give us ideas and thoughts of what we’re going to do,” she said.

As for James’ involvement in developing the makeover, Burdon said the basketball player will be working “side by side” with the school.

“Obviously, a lot of it will have to be done via email through his foundation, but he does want to see the renderings and he does want to have input,” she said. “Fortunately for us, [STVM basketball] coach Dru Joyce is LeBron’s voice through this project. He will be the guy that we communicate with and get more feedback through. But make no mistake about it, this will be a LeBron project.”

According to Burdon, renovation on the gym is expected to begin fairly soon.

“I think you’re going to start seeing demolition within the next few weeks,” she said. “And then, of course, all of the specialty companies will be coming in. Not that everything will be installed right away, because you have to be sure that all of your specs are submitted.”

Burdon said James isn’t the only STVM alumnus committed to making this project happen.

“There are a lot of people who are coming together as part of this,” she said. “You are going to see a lot of people from our school community who are going to come in to give their time to help make this work. Everyone is very excited about this.”


Green High School makes Newsweek list

GREEN — Green High School earned a spot on Newsweek’s list of public high schools that best prepare students for college.

The school was ranked 1,396th in the country. A total of 77 Ohio high schools made the list of the top 2,000.

Newsweek and website The Daily Beast conducted the survey of U.S. high schools with a goal of finding the secondary institutions that best prepare students for college. The list of schools is based on six components: graduation rate (25 percent), college acceptance rate (25 percent), Advanced Placement (AP)/International Baccalaureate (IB)/Advance International Certificate of Education (AICE) tests taken per student (25 percent), average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10 percent), and percent of students enrolled in at least one AP/IB/AICE course (5 percent).

Principal Cindy Brown said school officials were “super excited” to get the news.

“This is something we’ve been working toward,” she said. “It’s the first time ever.”

Brown said she actually contacted the reporter who heads up the project a couple of years ago because Green High School’s information had been combined with high schools in two other Ohio school districts named Green: one in Scioto County and one in Smithville in Wayne County. She said the same thing happened with the school rankings done by U.S. News and World Report.

Brown said last year Green High School sent its data to Newsweek but did not make the list at that time. The school has since gotten on the U.S. News list of top high schools, she said.

The principal added that the Newsweek list is a challenge to get on because of its focus on college preparedness. Green’s AP data helped, she said.

“We have one of the highest AP averages in the state of Ohio,” Brown said. Green High School’s average is 3.9, and the highest score is a 5. She added that 178 students took AP tests last year.

According to the website, more than 5,000 schools were invited to submit information for the survey and nearly 2,500 did. All public high schools in the United States were eligible.

The complete list and more information are at www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek.


Kathleen Folkerth and Sean Gerski contributed to these reports.

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