Mater Dei Prep Receives $10,000 Model Classroom Grant

On Thursday, October 13, Mater Dei Prep received a $10,000 model classroom grant from the OceanFirst Foundation to purchase integrated technology for the high school’s Emerging Global Leaders Institute EXCEL Program.

The EXCEL (Educational Experiences Creating Emerging Leaders) Program teaches real-life resolution and mediation skills, as well as international peace leadership, to sophomores, juniors, and seniors seeking a rigorous elective track. The program currently consists of two courses: Conflict Resolution/Peer Mediation and International Peace Leadership. Students who successfully complete these courses will receive certification in Conflict Resolution or International Leadership, respectively.

This program, led by George S. Anthony, an educator at Mater Dei Prep and a United Nations NY Representative for Pathways to Peace, is designed to provide the tools for students to own the change they wish to see in the world. Mr. Anthony believes, “When you give students the necessary skills to build better communities, they take ownership regarding their impact and responsibilities.”

The Emerging Global Leaders Institute provides intensive but rewarding training in effective communication, peer mediation, community building, conflict resolution, and global perspectives. Students are taught in a “train the trainer” format to provide them with opportunities to facilitate training both locally and globally.

The grant funds will help purchase MediaScape, a technology table developed by Steelcase, a leading business furniture and equipment developer, and adapted for educational settings. The table can seat up to six students at a time and consists of a Wi-Fi monitor and puck system, allowing students to plug in using their own devices. Students can then virtually chat with other students and partners from around the world seamlessly as a team.

Mr. Anthony, who serves as co-chair for the UN NGO International Day of Peace: Education Peace Team, expects the students to use the new technology to work on a local level with younger grades on positive leadership and anti-bullying initiatives. Globally, students will work with the UN NGOs, supporting their 15-year plan for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In 2015, more than 190 world leaders committed to 17 SDGs to help the world end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change. “We each have a role to play if we’re going to achieve these goals of a more prosperous, equitable, and sustainable world,” said Mr. Anthony.

OceanFirst Foundation was created in 1996 with a one-time endowment of $13.4 million approved by OceanFirst Bank depositors. The foundation offers grants to organizations throughout central New Jersey. Since its inception, the foundation has provided more the $27 million in grants to hundreds of local charities and schools.

The 2016 Model Classroom Grant was one of 15 awarded to elementary, middle and high schools from Monmouth and Ocean counties out of 86 applicants. Mater Dei Prep’s grant proposal was written by Nikki Tierney (MD ’90), a Rutgers Law School graduate and mother of four – including triplets who are currently juniors at Mater Dei Prep – and Catherine Cunning, a professional grant writer and friend of Mater Dei Prep.

For more information about the Emerging Global Leaders Institute, or about Mater Dei Prep’s other innovative programs, please call (732) 671-9100 or visit