Delray Couple Donates To Southtech Academy Programs

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Staff report

Three programs offered at charter high school SouthTech Academy in Boynton Beach will be enhanced thanks to a donation from the Virginia and Harvey Kimmel Family Fund of the Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties.

Thanks to the Delray couple’s gift, the following programs will receive financial boosts:

  • Culinary Arts Academy, an elective program for students in grades 9-12. Upon completion, graduates earn two industry certifications, preparing them for careers in the hospitality sector.
  • Virginia and Harvey Kimmel Family STEM Lab at SouthTech Academy, a new program for students in grades 9-12 that will expand knowledge and build skills in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • Boynton Beach Short Film Festival, run by students in SouthTech’s Film & Broadcast Academy. The festival’s competition is open to Florida film makers, including students from middle school to university level, as well as Florida professional film makers. Nationally and internationally submitted films are also screened; however, they are not part of the festival’s competition. The festival will be held April 30 through May 5 in Boynton Beach.

“We believe in supporting effective programs and organizations that change young lives for the better,” said Harvey Kimmel. “SouthTech is a great example of a successful public school whose programs are aligned with the needs of the community, and whose leaders are dedicated to long-term student success.”

Virginia Kimmel, a former teacher, and Harvey Kimmel, a turnaround business specialist, have focused their philanthropy on children, education and the arts, often providing lead gifts that can be matched by other sources of funding.

Recently, SouthTech and the Kimmels collaborated to secure a matching grant from the Council for Educational Change through its Partnership to Advance School Success (PASS) program, which teams a CEO, a committed principal, and an education coach to infuse business strategies into school improvements.

“Students in our culinary arts, science and technology, and film production programs will all benefit from the Kimmels’ generosity,” said John-Anthony Boggess, deputy superintendent of SouthTech Schools, which focuses on helping underserved students prepare for college and careers. “It’s a misnomer in public education that teachers can do more with less and still get the same student outcomes. Private philanthropy and community support is vital in helping students pursue their academic passion and in building the next-generation workforce.”

The school has a 98 percent graduation rate.

“All of us at SouthTech thank the Kimmels for their generous support,” said Steven Kozak, business & community partnership liaison officer at SouthTech Schools. “Their gifts provide us with an opportunity to reach out to other sources for additional funding, multiplying the impact of their philanthropy.”