by Vince Anch
A brave young student from Hayden High School in Topeka named Vicki stood in front of 1,000 people at the Catholic Education Foundation’s annual Gaudeamus dinner on Oct. 29. She shared her story of how CEF scholarships have impacted her life.
As a child, she attended a public school until her mother chose to send her to a Catholic school. This was only made possible by CEF scholarships.
At Gaudeamus, she shared, “My mom made the decision to put me in Catholic school to receive a quality education and to grow in my faith. Growing up in a single-parent household comes with its challenges, but my mother knew that Holy Family [Grade School] was the place where I would thrive and that brought her peace.”
She mentioned that while attending Holy Family, she met some amazing people, including Sister Juanita, her Spanish teacher; Sister Rebecca, her art teacher; and a school staff member, Mrs. Bennett, who became her godmother.
Vicki said that attending Catholic schools changed her life and gave her the support she needed to excel in her education and her faith.
She plans to attend college, but promised: “I will keep returning to Holy Family. It feels like home there. Catholic education has shaped me into the person I am today and has had a major impact on my family. Without the help of CEF, my experience with Catholic education would not have been possible.”
A mother from Kansas City, Kansas, also shared an emotional story via video during the dinner. The mother, Dora, described the challenges her family experienced, including having to live in government housing.
Her neighborhood was very dangerous so she wanted to send her children to a Catholic school for a safer environment and a more positive influence for them.
She broke into tears when she shared, “I never thought that I would be able to send my children to a Catholic school. The support from CEF has been a blessing. Thank you for the opportunities you have given my children.”
Her son Juan was a CEF scholarship recipient at Christ the King Grade School and became an accomplished student leader at Bishop Ward High School. He is now at Kenrick- Glennon Seminary in St. Louis discerning a vocation to the priesthood.
These are just a few stories out of hundreds that illustrate the impact CEF is having right now to improve lives throughout the archdiocese.
This year, CEF plans to award scholarships to 1,800 children. Currently, 300 children are in need of financial assistance. It’s not too late to help.
Visit the website at: cefgala.org/give to support these students in need. Every dollar raised will be matched by a generous challenge grant through the end of November.