Caring for our community
St. Timothy’s Catholic School
Inspiring young imaginations with support for STEM learning
Marc and Blake Batchelor share their St. Timothy’s experience
Marc Batchelor vividly remembers the first day he and his wife dropped their son off at St. Timothy’s Catholic School in Chantilly, Virginia.
“He was shy of his fourth birthday by a couple weeks,” said Marc, Senior Vice President, Credit Administration.
Marc was filling out paperwork when his wife, Melisa, realized she had left her keys in the classroom and had to run back to get them.
“She’s coming back, I see her walking by, and she’s bawling,” Marc said. “Blake is our firstborn, our only child. And I’m like ‘what’s wrong, what happened?’”
Blake had been nervous that morning, and started to cry after his parents left. But when Melisa arrived back at the classroom, Blake was walking hand in hand with his teacher, who was introducing him to all the other students so he wouldn’t feel scared.
“That’s how they take to their kids at that school,” Marc said. “That’s where the connection is.”
He only had that teacher, Mrs. Riley, for his first year of school. But Marc says they still keep in touch and exchange holiday cards every year.
Blake is 10 years old now, and in 6th grade. Every morning when he gets out of the carpool, the principal and assistant principal greet him by name.
The school, which goes from kindergarten through 8th grade, has over 700 students.
“So when they know his name, I’m like wow, that’s pretty special,” Marc said. “Someone took the time to recognize your child, to know your child… Those are the things that as a parent, you appreciate.”
Marc says the school stands out for its sense of community, fellowship, and giving.
The school holds a food drive on the first Friday of every month, and students frequently take trips to help stock shelves for St. Lucy’s Food Pantry in Manassas, Virginia.
“The school is always giving,” he said. “[But] they never ask for themselves. They always ask to give to others.”
Marc wanted to give back to the school for a change. So he called Principal Michael Pryor and asked where the money would be most needed.
Michael immediately mentioned the STEM lab — short for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“If there’s ever a generous donation from the community, that’s where my mind always goes,” Michael said. “We’re always working to expand what we’re doing.”
Students in the STEM lab simulate docking a shuttle at the International Space Station. (Photo: St. Timothy's Catholic School).
The STEM lab at St. Timothy’s is stocked with all kinds of technology to keep kids engaged.
Computers and orange 3D printers line the walls. Shelves display student-made model bridges and store bins of Legos and electronics equipment.
“It’s my favorite place to go on campus. There’s always high energy in there,” he said.
Students work with coding, drones, virtual reality, Rube Goldberg machines, and 3D printing. The two teachers that run the STEM lab are constantly trying out new projects with their students.
“It’s really driven by the students’ interests,” Michael said. “It’s learning under the guise of fun and the kids love it.”
In one class, students built and raced their own race cars powered by carbon dioxide. Another class is learning to use conductive thread, sewing thread that carries electrical currents the same way wires do, allowing you to sew circuits into fabric.
“It’s really cool… watching the kids understand something that flies completely over my head,” he said. “I’ve never heard of it or seen it but they’re masters at it”
“That really keeps the kids motivated,” Marc said. “I really reflect back to my son. He’s not excited about school yet, but he does get excited about 3D printing. He does get excited about drones.”
Blake usually gets to go to the lab twice a week. He’s gotten to try a virtual reality headset, worked on coding a game himself, and learned a lot about 3D printing. So far he’s made a chess piece, a nameplate, and even a small whale.
Marc’s donation will help maintain those 3D printers and bring in even more technology in the future. Two of his colleagues, Mustafa Huseeini and Mario Seminario, were inspired to join him when they heard about the donation, despite having no personal connections to the school. Together they gave a total of $3,000.
Marc feels very proud that he was able to give back to the school in a way that will help students get excited and involved.
“I think keeping kids really engaged like that, that’s important you know. It really is,” Marc said. “If we can be a part of that through [Making Change] — that’s what it’s here for.”
Scenes from the campus of St. Timothy’s Catholic School. (Photos: Tyler McLatchy)
To learn more about St. Timothy’s Catholic School visit sainttimothyschool.org