St Matthias Becomes The First Catholic Elementary School To Have Hydroponic STEM Lab


On January 29th, St. Matthias Catholic Academy were very excited to welcome local politicians and community leaders for the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of their new NY Sun Works STEM Lab. The event showcased the new program with student led tours, a cooking demo and students building their own hydroponic systems.

“Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics are the careers of the future, which is why we made the important decision to be the first NYC Catholic Academy to build a Hydroponic Lab. We wanted to ensure our students —our future leaders—have access to a cutting edge STEM curriculum”, shared Barbara Wehnes, the academy’s principal.

“This Greenhouse Classroom will give our students a fun and rewarding learning experience and help them understand their role when it comes to building a sustainable and innovative food system,” remarked John Pettei, the Academy’s Board Chair. “Students will learn about the science of sustainability and how to grow food with cutting edge technology”, the classroom teacher Tara Di Rico explained “ This new STEM program will expand far beyond the educational auspices of the urban farm. The students will also learn about contamination, pollution, biodiversity, and conservation while understanding how their actions have an impact on the environment”

“We are honored to partner with Principal Barbara Wehnes and her team at St. Matthias Academy in her vision to bring 21st century science and sustainability education into the classroom” said Manuela Zamora, NYSW Executive Director “The NY Sun Works Hydroponics Lab will provide students with the opportunity to grow food while learning hands-on about science and climate education as well as food justice and community service. Moreover, it will provide bountiful harvests of leafy greens for the greater school community”