Central Tampa News
St. Peter Claver gets $10K donation for science lab
TAMPA - Triad Foundation has awarded $10,000 to St. Peter Claver Catholic School to help buy equipment for the school’s science laboratory. The announcement was made Tuesday at a fundraising luncheon for the school at the Columbia Restaurant. Founded by a Jesuit priest in 1894, St. Peter Claver, at 1401 N. Governor St., is Florida’s oldest black parochial school. It has struggled in recent years financially and with declining enrollment. Recent donations such as the Triad contribution have given the school a boost. Earlier this year, TD Bank Charitable Fund also donated $10,000 for the science lab.Nearly two years ago, Joe Capitano Sr., the Allegheny Foundation and K-Force helped paint a computer lab and donated nearly 20 computers. For the first time in years, enrollment is at full capacity, with more than 160 students. “I was shocked,” said Sister Maria Babatunde, the school’s principal. “We have struggled and the struggle continues (but) we have to get them ready. We keep them going forward.” About 90 percent of the students who attend St. Peter Claver’s pre-kindergarten through eighth grades are on scholarships. “I’ve been there through good times and bad times,” said Capitano, who serves on a volunteer committee and is board chairman of The Radiant Group. “We’ve come a long way since last year. They need the help and we need to be there to help them.” St. Peter Claver is on the outer edges of the Encore project, a mixed-income community that is replacing the former Central Park Village public housing complex. The Ella, a senior apartment building, opened in December. Two more apartment buildings, for seniors and families, are under construction. When completed the $415 million project also will have shops, possibly a hotel and a black history museum.