The NativityMiguel Middle School of Buffalo has guided students who face obstacles in their daily lives toward academic success since 2004. Founded by a Jesuit priest, their mission is to break the cycle between poverty and education by providing the base level of education students need to be successful in high school and beyond. The students have an extended school-day and school-year to increase the effectiveness of their mission and to guide these students in the right direction.
With separate campuses for boys and girls, NativityMiguel practices faith and personal mentoring to supply a nurturing environment for the students to grow in. The mentorships with the students continue through their high school career to uphold their progress and ensure high graduation rates.
To be accepted into NativityMiguel, students must complete the NativityMiguel Summer Program, The Bison Children Scholarship Fund application for tuition assistance, and an interview with NativityMiguel representatives. Interviews are held from January to June and there are currently more spots open in the fifth and sixth grade programs rather than the seventh and eighth grades.
The Board of Trustees is made up of various leaders from local faith-based organizations and private schools where many of the NativityMiguel students continue onto after middle school. Volunteer Christopher Vukelic was recently added to the board and says NativityMiguel has “extensive plans” for the future.
We hardly get any money from the government and rely mostly on fundraising. The school needs to be updated, so we would want to raise some money for that as well.
“Our plan is to raise money for a few different things,” Vukelic said. “First, private high schools are expensive and these kids and their parents don’t have the resources to pay for the education. So we would like the money to go into the scholarship fund. Secondly, we hardly get any money from the government and rely mostly on fundraising. The school needs to be updated, so we would want to raise some money for that as well.
“And lastly, the teachers dedicate at least 60 hours a week for very minimum pay and we would like to somehow reward them more handsomely for their time and effort towards the kids.”
According to their website, most of the students at NativityMiguel qualify for free and reduced lunch through New York State. In addition, approximately 95 percent of the students’ tuition is covered by donations from the local community including various other faith-based organizations. NativityMiguel also holds fundraising events which gives people the opportunity to donate on a smaller scale, but still with a significant impact. One of their big events this past year was the Scholars Awards Banquet. This was held at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center and included a silent auction followed by the dinner and program.
NativityMiguel’s next event is the Summer Solstice Happy Hour. The event will be from 5:30pm to 8:00pm on June 22 located at the Flying Bison Brewing Company on 840 Seneca St. The school will be charging $25 for online pre-sale and $30 at the door. Tickets include drink vouchers and food.
To find out how else you can get involved with NativityMiguel visit nativitymiguelbuffalo.org.