Education Fueled by Imagination at Holy Family

by Diocese of Des Moines | May 14, 2024

Student with his robotic truck

In the halls of Holy Family, creativity finds its home among the eager minds of students like seventh-grader Eliud Bello Amaya. Amaya's unique project—a programmable robot that can navigate complex mazes and perform intricate tasks—has not only captivated his peers but also sparked a conversation about the potential for a robotics program at Holy Family.

"I was interested in building stuff and seeing how things work," Amaya explained, reflecting on the inspiration behind hisRobotic truck creation. Guided by his curiosity, he embarked on a two-week adventure to bring his vision to life. His unwavering commitment and resilience culminated in the birth of a sleek, functional robot car—a testament to his ingenuity and determination that can inspire every student at Holy Family.

For Amaya, building this robot was just the beginning. Eager to share his creation with the school community, he saw an opportunity to advocate for something greater. "I thought it was cool," he said. "When I heard it could be used to possibly help get a robotics program for our school, I thought it would be a good idea to share it."

Driven by his ambition to become a mechanical engineer, Amaya envisions a future where Holy Family offers a successful robotics program. "I want to make a program for kids to learn and the staff they may be interested in, and it would be fun," he said. His enthusiasm is infectious, igniting a collective desire to nurture the potential within every student. A robotics program at Holy Family could open up a world of opportunities for students, preparing them for careers in fields such as engineering, computer science and technology. 

But what would it take to transform this vision into reality? According to school administrator Paulette Theisen, the answer is simple. "With the addition of a dedicated faculty member and sustainable funding, our school could become a hub of innovation," shared Theisen. "This program would empower our students to explore the realms of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, transforming the educational landscape and preparing them for the challenges of the future." 

A robotics program at Holy Family is not just about learning technical skills; it's about personal growth. Through hands-onStudent with his robotic truck projects, students can develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and a deeper understanding of scientific principles. STEM-centric learning fosters resilience, adaptability and creativity as students tackle challenges and collaborate with their peers. The end result? Students emerge as confident, competent problem solvers equipped to navigate the complexities of the 21st century. "This is something we can all be proud of and support," said Theisen.

At all Diocese of Des Moines Catholic schools, research-based teaching strategies and innovative technology applications are available across all grade levels. Desktop computers, laptops, iPads, tablets, interactive whiteboards, and other technology are integrated into the classroom or available in the school's STEM lab. Many diocesan schools offer Makerspace, a dedicated area where students can work on hands-on projects, experiment with different tools and materials, and collaborate with their peers. This space often includes computer-aided design software, 3D printers, and more to support project-based learning and hands-on STEM activities. Additionally, partnerships with local, state and national STEM programs further enhance the STEM experience for our students. 

The impact of STEM-based learning extends beyond the classroom walls, preparing students for success in an ever-evolving world. Holy Family is shaping today's minds and nurturing tomorrow's innovators by fostering a culture of imagination and exploration. As Amaya continues to pursue his passion for robotics, he reminds us that education is not just about acquiring knowledge but also about unleashing the boundless potential of every student.

Robotic truckFor more than 40 years, Holy Family Catholic School has provided an education marked by excellence and rooted in the teachings of Christ. Supported by five parishes in the Diocese of Des Moines, Holy Family, and its supporters are committed to providing an exceptional learning environment that celebrates the diversity of its students. Holy Family boasts a student body with a rich diversity not seen in most Iowa schools. The school population is 82% free/reduced lunch, with 98% of its students receiving tuition assistance to attend school there. Additionally, 97% of students have diverse racial and cultural backgrounds, with more than a dozen languages spoken. Thirty-eight percent of students qualify for English Language instruction. However, despite potential language barriers, students at Holy Family thrive. As the only year-round school in the Diocese of Des Moines, Holy Family maximizes student learning with 15 additional school days and breaks throughout the year, which are timed to help reduce learning loss.

To learn more about Holy Family or to find out how you can support STEM learning at the school, visit or email

Diocese of Des Moines

The Diocese of Des Moines, created in 1911, serves people over a 12,446 square mile area in the southwestern quadrant of Iowa, including 23 counties.