The Berwyn Development Corporation (BDC) presented a philanthropic grant check on January 20. Left to right: BDC Board President Andy Sotiropoulos, Berwyn South School District 100 Superintendent Mary Havis, Heritage Middle School Principal Allison Boutet, VEX Robotics Coach Justine Coalson and BDC Board Vice President Richard "Jousef" Mondragon.

The robotics program helps students recognize and develop their potential to excel in math and science and to encourage them to continue their engagement in high school and college. Preparing for the competition and competing allowed students to collaborate with teammates and learn the engineering and design process, including how to code an autonomous robot. Ultimately, the students are engaged in the full process of creating something from nothing. A philanthropic check presentation was held in conjunction with the BDC on January 20.

“Heritage Middle School Robotics is in the middle of our fifth season as an official team. We are very excited to be hosting our third annual VEX Robotics tournament in our first year as part of the Chicagoland Robotics League. We are grateful to all of our sponsors, NEIU Pathways Program, and the Berwyn Development Corporation for their support in our endeavors,” said head robotics coach and 6th grade science teacher Justine Coalson.

“It’s great to see kids having fun with STEM subjects and working together. The BDC is honored to be a part of an initiative that supports our local youth and contributes to the future of our economy,” said BDC Board President Andy Sotiropoulos.

As with the other schools in Berwyn South School District 100, Heritage staff is committed to inspiring a passion for learning in every child. Promoting academic excellence and supports for the whole child are core beliefs for their school. For more information on Heritage Middle School, please call (708) 749-6110 or visit

About the BDC Philanthropic Program
The Berwyn Development Corporation provides charitable contributions to causes within the Berwyn community. The BDC makes awards to local not-for-profit public charities, giving priority to those efforts that positively impact economic vitality, provide services directly to beneficiaries, address root problems and serve disenfranchised groups.

Berwyn headquartered not-for-profits can make application for funding throughout the year as needs arise with awards based upon available BDC funding. For more details regarding the philanthropic program, call the BDC at 708-788-8100 or visit

Special thanks to our BDC Trustees that help make these grants possible: Byline Bank, MacNeal Hospital, Morton College, Paisans Pizzeria & Bar, Republic Bank of Chicago, Turano Baking Company and World’s Largest Laundromat. 

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