The Catholic Education Endowment Trust awarded $40,000 in scholarships to 24 students in Catholic schools throughout the Diocese of Cleveland at the annual Bishops’ Scholarship for Excellence Award luncheon. Scholarship winners, their parents, pastors, principals and diocesan education officials attended the June 24 event at St. Michael’s Woodside Event Center in Broadview Heights.
Sister Allison Marie Gusdanovic, Cleveland Central Catholic High School principal and CEET board chairperson, explained that the scholarships are named in honor of all Cleveland bishops – past and present. Eight high school students each received a $3,000 award and 16 elementary school students each received $1,000.
She explained that CEET was established in 1976 by the diocese to promote Catholic education, provide support for religious education programs and to grant tuition-aid scholarships to families with financial need who desire a Catholic education for their children. In the 1998-1999 school year, CEET began the Bishops’ Scholarship for Excellence program. Awards are presented annually to rising juniors and seniors in Catholic high schools and to students in Catholic elementary schools who are entering seventh and eighth grade.
The students write an essay answering a predetermined question. Essays are judged by members of the CEET board.
This year’s question was: “Bishop (Nelson) Perez echoes Pope Francis’ call for us to be ‘missionary disciples’ by sharing what excites us about our faith as we encounter people in everyday life. In your essay, share three to five things about your Catholic school experience that excite you. Explain how these everyday experiences place you on the path to living your faith and fulfilling the call from God in your life.”
Frank O’Linn, superintendent of schools, said the essays were thoughtful and well done. He thanked those involved with the CEET program, the students, their families and those in the diocesan education ministry those who are witnessing their faith. O’Linn also introduced Bishop Perez, who offered some remarks before the scholarships were presented.
The bishop noted that in the reading from the Book of Jeremiah that began the event, the Lord said, “For I know the plans I have for you.” He told the gathering how true that is. He reminisced about his days as a first-grader in a Catholic school in New Jersey.
“I didn’t know then what God’s plan was for me. I had no idea I’d be here in Cleveland. Our God is a God of surprises but he knows the plans he has for you,” he said, adding, “Keep this in mind.”
“You’re receiving a great education in a faith-filled environment,” he said.
The bishop told the students that the faith-driven values they are learning will be deep in their hearts.
“Congratulations. It’s a joy to be here with you,” he added.
Richard Osborne, interim associate superintendent for high schools, and Susan Biggs, assistant superintendent, elementary schools, helped present the awards.
High school winners were Hannah Adkins, Padua Franciscan High School; Mark Ezaki, St. Edward High School; Mara Horning and Claire Martin, Magnificat High School; Grace Mohr and Natali Trem, Lake Catholic High School; Molly Passow, Beaumont School; and Kalicia Straight, Trinity High School.
Elementary school winners were Emma Blum, Hannah and Zoe Schmidt, St. Mark School; Gabriella Kravanis, Danielle Williams and Karissa Williams-Kuzmickas, St. Charles Borromeo School; Noel Maddox, St. Raphael School; Jack Murray, St. Helen School; Elizabeth Passow, St. Mary School, Chardon; Katarina Payamgis, St. Bridget of Kildare School; Kathryn Ridler and Bridget Thomas, Mater Dei Academy; Audrey Schilens, St. Bernadette School; Owen Turner, St. Anthony of Padua School, Parma; James Welsh, Immaculate Heart of Mary School; and Alisdair Welty, St. Columbkille School.
The Catholic Community Foundation of the Diocese of Cleveland coordinates fundraising for CEET, other scholarships and charitable giving opportunities throughout the diocese. For more information, visit catholiccommunity.org.