Bishop Dunne Catholic School president Kate Dailey wanted her students to be able to receive college credit through courses taken in the school’s own science labs.

After a $6-million upgrade to the 1961 school building in 2015, the private school near Kiest Park applied to Texas Community Colleges’ dual credit program, but they were turned down.

“This, of course, was very disappointing,” Dailey says. “But it also really activated us into making sure that we got this done.”

The cost to upgrade the five science labs to college-level standards came to almost $1 million.

Once science department chair Roger Palmer and other teachers assessed the needs of the five labs, then Dailey, advancement director Lydia Torrez and communications director Allie Daus worked together nonstop for three years to receive financial commitments from fourteen sources.

As a result, the school has been able to upgrade all of its science labs; three of them are done already, and the other two will be finished by the start of the school year.

Grants from the Haggerty Foundation allowed the school to focus on chemistry labs, which improved students’ scores on the AP chemistry exam. A grant from the Rees-Jones Foundation made possible an animal health and wellness class, which they hope will steer more students toward veterinary medicine. 

The school holds an annual STEM conference called Geotech that has drawn speakers such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and Jane Goodall.

And now their science labs are accredited to offer dual-credit classes.

“We can do real science and real service if we have adequate, nicely designed facilities, and that’s what we’re putting in,” Palmer says.

The donors are:

The Haggerty Foundation: $350,000

The Hillcrest Foundation: $50,000

The Staubach Family Foundation: $15,000

Rauch Foundation: $5000

Bishop Dunne class of 1975: $10,000

The Rees-Jones Foundation: $100,000

The Gollob family: $100,000

The Catholic Foundation: $70,000

St. Anne Catholic Parish: $5,000

The Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable and Educational Trust: $10,000

Fred and Shannon Cerise: $50,000

Anonymous: $5,000

Moody Foundation: $87,500

Total: $837,500