high school graduate hugging his mom

Domenica Scholars of 2024

This photo of Salvador Morales hugging his mother embodies the love, hope, and joy of this year’s class of Domenica Scholars as they graduate from high school. 

Seventeen recipients of our high school scholarship graduated this spring. That represents a 100% graduation rate for this cohort of Domenica Scholars. Furthermore, 100% of these students are going on to college. Together, they earned $3 million in college scholarships and awards. 

Every year, we award Domenica Scholarships to rising ninth graders who are graduating from Catholic Partnership Schools. The scholarships enable them to attend one of four Catholic high schools in the Camden area. Our aim is to help prepare students who might otherwise languish in overcrowded public high schools for success in college and beyond.

Elena Piperno, director of the Domenica Foundation, visited each school to congratulate its Domenica Scholars—and to hand out T-shirts to remind them of our ongoing support. “It has been amazing to watch these students mature into the compassionate, kind, respectful, and hard-working young men and women they are today,” she said.

These Domenica Scholars were sophomores when we began running college trips and other excursions. Elena said, “I’m proud that many of them plan to attend Rowan University and St. Joseph’s University, which were two of the colleges we visited.”

Students expressed their gratitude for the four-year high school scholarship: 

  • Sal Morales, pictured above: “You and your foundation took a chance on me, and my success comes from you.” Sal graduated from Cristo Rey in Philadelphia and will attend Xavier University in the fall on a full scholarship.
  • Daisy Banuelos: “All I hope is that my efforts will be equal to the support you have given me.” Daisy graduated from Gloucester Catholic and plans to attend Rowan University this fall.

We are so proud of our graduates! Each Domenica Scholarship is an investment in that student and their future. The ROI, as we see it, is what they make of that future. 

In her pre-graduation visits, Elena shared this pride and this vision with the students. She also shared the hope that they would stay connected with their elementary and high schools and with Camden. 

“I am here for our scholars to support and guide them, but I don’t look like them and don’t have their experiences,” she said. “These graduates are the ones who can lead and inspire younger kids to be what they want to be, to see themselves as doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other professionals.” 

“Other than that,” she said, “I told them they owe us nothing but to make their dreams come true.”

High school grads in cap & gown with Elena Piperno
Camden Catholic HS grads with Elena
High school students with Domenica Foundation T-shirts

Paul VI High School Scholars with their Domenica Foundation T-shirts

Gloucester Catholic Domenica Scholars with Elena Piperno

Gloucester Catholic Domenica Scholars with Elena Piperno