A Community Endeavor: The Heart and Hearth of the Transform Campaign

by: Michael Gillis, Director of Advancement
When do communities come together? What inspires a group of connected individuals or families to quietly gather and offer their service, time and talents?

Isn’t it easier to just go it alone…

Short term, it is true that we all have busy lives and personal goals, but the long term interdependency of a thriving school community was founded on our common and collective decision to raise, educate and care for our children together.

This is the heart and hearth of the Transform Campaign... and we are not done yet!

Whether supporting with a helping hand in a time of need, celebrating in triumph or focusing on a collective goal, community spirit does something remarkable for the many, the few or even the one. “Many hands,” my grandmother used to say, “makes for light work.”

Several years ago, I witnessed with Habitat for Humanity a modern day “barn raising.” It was so moving and so intrinsically rewarding to give back. To pay it forward. To be a part of something so simple and so good.

I must admit that the way Shorecrest families are rising up to join the Transform Campaign each day reminds me of that kind of community service.

Barn raising is a tradition that continues today in some Old Order Mennonite and Amish communities and refers to the collective action of a community, in which all members help to build or rebuild a barn. While barns and schoolhouses were historically vital, they were also costly, and often required more labor than one family could handle. It became common practice for the community to come together to assist in building their neighbors' barns. This favor was eventually returned to all members of the community.

Again, doesn’t this sounds a lot like Transform?

A barn raising, like the building of Charger Commons, playscapes, libraries and the new Innovation and STEAM Centers, requires a lot of preparation and work. The ground needs to be cleared, hardware and lumber laid in, and the proper tradesmen hired. The materials needed for the barn, like our biggest community funded project in our nearly one hundred year history, are normally purchased or traded for by the eventual owners of the structure. In most cases, historically, participation in barn raising was mandatory for all members of a community. The failure of an able bodied member of a community to attend a barn raising could cause discourse because members of these communities were interdependent on each other; they celebrated together, raised their families together, and they knew that the community would be there for them when their time or need came around.

Transform is the final puzzle piece to the Shorecrest Preparatory School campus; creating more than 60,000 square feet of new facilities, this new space brings our community together. From the youngest students to the oldest students; parents, grandparents, alumni, friends, family and faculty, this will be a shared space for everyone to gather, learn, collaborate, share meals and create community.

So, I want to end where we began: When will the Shorecrest community come together? What will inspire this group of connected individuals or families to quietly gather and offer their service, time and talents? The answer is Transform, because we are not done yet!

In less than a year we have ‘raised the barn,’ but there is more to come and more support needed than ever before!

The next phase will help finish out the second floor of the new facility to include Lower School art, music and languages, new Student Activities Center, media center, provide a space for The Learning Center and the Shorecrest Community Association (SCA), and will cultivate 1.5 acres of greenspace that includes the Weiss Family Pavilion and new playscapes.

Transform is funded solely by the philanthropic support of the Shorecrest community. This project is not paid for from tuition. The Transform Campaign needs everyone in the Shorecrest community to rise to the occasion of our barnraising and fundraising and find ways to get involved. Could you imagine leaving a family with a half finished barn? Just because we are in Charger Commons now, eating together, does not mean Transform is finished.

Many hands, light work. Raise the barn. Join us!

This is what Transform is all about.


5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191

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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.