Blog posts of '2020' 'December'

Empire Gives - STEM at Home

KIPP Columbus Elementary & Middle School, Columbus, OH
Ms. Mayer, 3rd - 5th Grade Teacher

Project: Help give students STEM kits for additional at home learning with virtual learning.

The Students

Ms. Mayer has the honor of teaching a wonderful group of 5th graders this year. Her school is currently 100% remote. All of the students receive free lunches and 90% are of color. They have a special education population of around 10%. The students use their curiosity and perseverance to accomplish goals and show their true spirit of seeking knowledge when given the right tools and a place to grow. A child who attends KIPP Columbus is four times more likely to graduate from college than their peers, and the school hopes to see that number continue to rise in the coming years.

The Project 

The students have been learning at home so far this school year, which can be very challenging for them. Many of them do not have resources at home to help foster the love of creativity and science. These different science and STEM kits would give the students the opportunity to continue their learning and love of science at home after school hours. The STEM kits include a microscope, a geode discovery kit, and more. The students need exciting and hands-on activities to keep their minds learning at home, and off of the uncertain world around them. STEM education is so important in today's society and unfortunately, many of the students are not participating in these types of activities at home. It is important for their mind and curiosity to continue to grow even at this time. The STEM kits will fill the gap in materials and creativity they are experiencing at this time.

After fully funding the project, Ms. Mayer wrote back to us saying, 


Thank you so much for your contribution! I am so excited to be able to share these STEM projects with my students at home and can't wait to see their faces light up when they get them! Thank you for believing in my students! Happy holidays to you and may the new year be filled with many blessings!

With gratitude,
Ms. Mayer

If you would like to support a classroom near you, visit

EmpireCovers - Holiday Contest Winners
EmpireCovers - Holiday Contest Winners

Christmas trees and gingerbread houses aren’t the only thing being decorated this holiday season.

We all know that 2020 has been a tough year for everyone, but especially for teachers and students. So, as an opportunity to bring some holiday cheer and excitement, we decided to host a unique art contest for schools in the local Philadelphia area. The EmpireCovers Holiday Car Cover Contest challenged schools to compete against each other in one of the winter seasons oldest traditions - decorating Christmas trees car covers!

The schools that participated in the contest were Wissahickon Middle School, Stephen Decatur School, and Orchard Valley Middle School. The public voted on their favorite car covers from December 7th to the 17th, and it is now time to announce the winner!

1st Place - Stephen Decatur School

Coming in first place with over 2,000 votes is Stephen Decatur's entry - "Another Day in the Mail Room". Stephen Decatur students took a unique approach with their cover by turning it into an installation of Santa working in his mail room. The cover was transformed into a desk where Santa is hard at work reading over all the Christmas letters sent to him from boys and girls all over the world. Students in Grade K, 1st, 7th, and 8th came up with the idea and worked on the cover together.

2nd Place - Orchard Valley Middle School

In a close 2nd place is Orchard Valley's entry - "Sweet Ride". This car cover is a “sweet” design made with sugar and spice. Bumper to bumper gingerbread and graham cracker. Topped with candy canes, gum drops and marshmallow icing galore. Complete with peppermint rims and a chocolate brick chimney that actually works!. This car cover was created by the Orchard Valley Middle School Art Club, consisting of students in 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade.

3rd Place - Wissahickon Middle School

In 3rd place is Wissahickon Middle School's entry - "Krampus & the Slay Belles". The students of Wissahickon Middle School took a spooky approach with their cover. The front hood is showing Krampus, who in Central European folklore, is a horned, anthropomorphic figure described as "half-goat, half-demon", who, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved, kind of like today’s Elf on a Shelf watching or getting coal in your stocking. This contrasts with Saint Nicholas, who rewards the well-behaved with gifts.The sides of the car depict everything from Snoopy and other beloved cartoon characters, Winter Wonderland imagery, Hanukkah menorah with latkes and dreidel, elves in a variety of poses and actions and the end to 2020 with a New Year’s Eve countdown and fireworks. The tailgate end depicts Santa’s “Slay Belles” balancing out the theme of naughty and nice.

We want to thank all of the teachers and students that participated in the contest despite the difficulties they faced in getting the project done amidst the pandemic. We also want to thank everyone that supported and voted for the entries by sharing them on social media. We hope to bring the contest back next year and make it even bigger and better!