Gehlen Catholic School Chosen by Staples Associate to Receive $1,000 Grant

Gehlen Catholic Nominated by Local Associate, Linda Willett, to Receive Staples Foundation Grant
Posted on 12/08/2017

STEMThe grant will be used by Gehlen Catholic’s 5th & 6th Grade Science Instructor, Mr. Nathan Sexe of Sioux Center, to purchase 5 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) kits. 
 Gehlen Catholic President, Rev. Bruce A. Lawler, pointed to research included in the Staples grant proposal, which revealed there are 3.4 STEM jobs for every 1 qualified college graduate currently in Iowa.  STEM careers are among the highest paid & in the greatest demand in the US.  The goal of STEM is to increase achievement to ensure Iowa’s leadership in education & workforce development.  

Gehlen Catholic is committed to preparing graduates to be productive contributors to their world.  In the 2017-2022 Long Range Strategic Plan, the Academic Excellence Subcommittee outlined numerous goals & strategies to provide academically diverse educational experiences as well technology integration throughout the instructional program to enhance student learning. 

 Mr. Sexe stated the 5th & 6th Grade STEM Kits will be effective approaches to achieve these goals.  The kits address the Next Generation Science Standards for 6th grade: 

  • The Attraction is Obvious: Designing Maglev Systems - provides students the opportunities to develop models & arguments surrounding motion, forces & energy. 
  • No Bones About It:  Designing Knee Braces – allows students to investigate, develop, & use a model to describe cell function.
  • Now You’re Cooking:  Designing Solar Ovens – engages students through the application of principles to design, construct, & test devices on thermal energy.
  • A Slick Solution:  Cleaning an Oil Spill – requires students to analyze, interpret data, apply principles, & construct arguments regarding the human impact on ecosystems. 
  • Sounds Like Fun:  Seeing Animal Sounds – makes students utilize mathematical representations to develop, use & describe models on the energy in a wave. 

 The STEM kits supplement the FOSS Science kits, math & science textbooks, technology & field trips Mr. Sexe implements throughout the year to instruct students in all of the STEM areas.

 Gehlen Catholic PK-6th Grade Principal, Mrs. Lorie Nussbaum of LeMars, exclaimed, “Thank you, Staples Foundation, for the generous gift!  How exciting to see the ongoing growth of STEM at Gehlen Catholic as our students prepare for the future!”

 Staples Associate, Mrs. Linda Willett of Alton, was equally excited to see Gehlen Catholic receive the grant from the Staples Foundation.  Mrs. Willett responded, “I feel a good rounded Catholic education is a valuable tool for our youth.  With the additional funding, the programs can grow & allow the youth to grow as well.  STEM is a key part of the learning process.  In our world today, the more technical knowledge & being able to think on their feet is going to help them achieve better higher education & will help them wherever their career choice takes them.” 


Mrs. Willett’s daughters both attended Spalding Catholic School.  She noted, “The values they learned in their education have made them well rounded both academically & in the community.  They both understand you need to volunteer & ‘give back’ to your community, church & schools to thrive.”  A key component of the Staples Foundation 2 Million & Change program provides Staples & their associates an opportunity to volunteer with the various projects funded. 

 Mrs. Willett & her husband, Al, have continued their involvement in Catholic education through Al’s service on the Catholic Schools Foundation for the Diocese of Sioux City. 

 Created in 2012, the 2 Million & Change program is a philanthropic initiative which allows Staples associates around the world to direct funding to non-profit organizations focused on academic education or job skills. The program encourages local community engagement by awarding larger grants to organizations where associates are highly engaged in volunteering or fundraising – up to $25,000 per organization.


In 2016, Staples awarded more than $2.3 million in grants to 1,000 local organizations in support of education & job skills programs, including job readiness for homeless individuals, career exploration for high school students, academic scholarships, mentoring & more.

 “Staples is committed to giving back to the causes our associates are passionate about,” said Regis Mulot, chief human resources officer, Staples, Inc. “The 2 Million & Change program helps associates make an even greater impact on the organizations they support in their local communities.”

 About Staples Community & Giving

Staples contributes to educational & job-related community efforts with a primary focus on disadvantaged youth, from literacy & mentoring to career skills development, through in-kind & monetary donations & grants from Staples Foundation, the private charitable arm of Staples, Inc. Through its community & giving efforts, Staples has helped thousands of organizations around the world. For more information, visit

Gehlen Catholic School

Gehlen Catholic School strives to promote an openness to God, to promote a quality education & to instill Catholic values in a caring, challenging, & prayerful environment