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College Hill Academy Scores With UC’s Kickoff in the Big 12

College Hill Fundamental Academy scored big with a library renovation, new virtual reality headsets, furniture and books thanks to the University of Cincinnati athletics joining the Big 12 Conference this fall. The elementary school held a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the new library and cheer on the Bearcats.

Student-athletes from nearly all 18 UC varsity sports filled the room as College Hill students took in their brand new reading furniture, books and VR headsets. When UC entered the Big 12, they were offered the opportunity to award a grant to one elementary school in Cincinnati and chose College Hill. 

When College Hill’s new principal, Brandon Kingman, joined the school and learned of the opportunity, he was all-in. “I was very excited for the school, when I learned UC and Big 12 were planning the renovation,” Kingman said. “When I got here and saw the space, it was covered with boxes and old furniture. Our facilities teams and partners did an amazing job bringing this space together for our students.”

While Kingman, a big UC fan and current UC PhD candidate, is excited for the opportunity for his students, he recognizes the project wouldn’t be possible without the work of Mary Jane Healy, affectionately known as the “Librarian Goddess” amongst her colleagues for the work she’s put in at College Hill for over 14 years.. “It was a lot of work to put the space together,” said Healy. “But seeing the expressions on our students' faces made it all worth it.”

In addition to the Library makeover, the Big 12 Conference and the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers surprised Healy and Beverly Lewis, 3rd grade teacher, with $1,000 each. “I’ve never received anything like this before,” said Lewis, who has taught at College Hill for more than 30 years. “It’s good to know you’re appreciated.”

Kingman added, “Ms. Healy and Ms. Lewis are fixtures in our school. They couldn’t be more deserving.”

However, the surprises didn’t end there. Hannah Jackson, President of UC’s Black Student Athlete Association and her peers provided students with brand new books to bring home the day’s excitement.

After taking everything in, 6th grader Kaden Dixon received cheers as he told donors, “Thank you! We promise to take care of it!”