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$50,000 Gift for STEM Announced at Fire & Ice 50th Anniversary Gala
Posted 04/30/2019 10:14AM

On Saturday, April 27th, the Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences community gathered together at PB Dye Golf Club to celebrate 50 years of Joy, Support, and Excellence at the School’s annual Gala, complete with a silent and live auction. The highlight of the evening was the announcement of a $50,000 gift in support of enriched STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education from Christina and Vinnie Lima, current Barnesville parents of a third grader and a kindergarten student.  

The Lima family gift will be invested in new STEM instruction and hands-on activities that will complement the School’s current science curriculum. Vinnie expressed their desire to “enrich the Barnesville STEM curriculum, in a manner that was beyond electives. That is, in a way that enables a long term, transformative initiative to help kids at all ages experience STEM in a special manner that only Barnesville can provide.”

This significant gift will allow for a partnership with Kid Museum, located in North Bethesda, to provide hands-on learning that incorporates STEM, art, and culture with creativity and critical thinking.

“Practicing and combining the STEM concepts allows our children to soar to heights we know they are capable of reaching. All that is needed are the toolsets and a support-system,” Christina shared. “STEM instigates collaboration, team-building, problem solving, adaptability, logical thinking, a tolerance for failure as well as creating a center of gravity for curiosity! These are keys to continued education and, to me, seem essential for long-term success of our children.”

Barnesville’s enhanced STEM curriculum will include an in-depth introduction to robotics and coding in Lower School through hands-on activities both in the classroom and field trips to Kid Museum. Middle School students will participate in Kid Museum’s “Invention Studio” program, gaining skills in design & engineering, electricity & circuits, sensors & coding, and fabrication and rapid prototyping -- all while working collaboratively to create an interactive, multi-disciplined invention of their own design.

Head of School, Susanne Johnson, worked closely with Vinnie and Christina to ensure their gift would have a meaningful impact on the full Barnesville community.

I am immensely grateful to the Lima family for their most generous gift. A gift of this magnitude has an immediate impact on the lives of our students as well as future generations. We are delighted to partner with the KID Museum that shares our passion for inspiring creativity, curiosity and 21st century skills through hands-on learning,” Johnson said.

The Lima Family has been a part of the Barnesville community since 2015, and Christina and Vinnie have been quick to get involved in the life of the School. Christina has served on the executive board of the BPC, chaired staff appreciation monthly lunches as well as Staff Appreciation Week, and was the chair for the School’s annual Family Fun Night in 2018. The couple were also quick to show their tendency towards philanthropy, donating office furniture to the School in the summer of 2015.

The Limas have embraced the unique opportunities Barnesville has been able to provide for their family.

“Because of the small class size, Barnesville has the ability to illuminate our children’s strengths and weaknesses, and provides the opportunity for the children to thrive and perfect their strong suits!  From day one, the Barnesville staff had felt like an extended-family, allowing us to know that not only are our children intellectually-safe but physically safe,” Christina stated.

In the spirit of honoring our past and celebrating our future, Vinnie commented, “We hope this gift highlights to all parents that each one of us has a play in making Barnesville better for current and future generations!”  

Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences is an independent private school in Montgomery County, Maryland offering innovative preschool through 8th grade programs. Cross-curricular teaching encourages students to explore how subjects relate to one another, helping them to make connections that spark inquiry and deepen understanding. Small classes enable skilled teachers to engage each child in an academically challenging environment. Our 30-acre campus is our extended classroom, and we integrate nature into everyday learning.

An independent private school in
Montgomery County, Maryland
offering innovative preschool
through 8th grade programs.

Barnesville School

21830 Peach Tree Road
PO Box 404
Barnesville, MD 20838

p: 301.972.0341
f: 301.972.4076


We offer a vigorous academic program for students as well as engaging, hands-on learning experiences.


Our positive, supportive learning environment promotes imagination, exploration, personal growth, and achievement.

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