Meet the Obasi family! All four of these outstanding young people received Domenica Scholarships to attend Catholic high schools in the Camden area. Clockwise from left, they are Kingsley (Camden Catholic 2012), Anthoney (Camden Catholic 2011), Joechin (Paul VI 2016), Michelle (Camden Catholic 2014), and their mom, Ms. Maria Obasi.
Today, all four are in graduate school!
The Value of Domenica Scholarships
The Obasi parents emigrated to Camden from Nigeria—dad in the 1980s and mom some years later, by way of Canada where her sister lived. The family did well here in America, but Catholic high school tuition for four children would have been beyond their means.
“There were three of us at Camden Catholic at the same time,” said Anthoney, the eldest. “Then, a year after I graduated, my brother Joe went to Paul VI High School.”
“There’s no way we could have afforded to go without help from the Domenica Foundation.”
An additional hurdle was Mr. Obasi’s illness during the siblings’ high school years; he passed away in 2014. Michelle, who graduated from high school that year, decided to earn her undergraduate degree close to home at Rutgers–Camden.
“I played basketball, and because I was at Camden Catholic, my teammates urged me to play alongside them at tournaments, and college scouts came to watch us play. Then afterward I’d get emails from college coaches showing interest,” she said.
“I could have attended college on a basketball scholarship, but I decided it was more important to stay home and support my mom.” Michelle played on her college team and was, according to the Rutgers website, an outstanding performer. (Michelle was too modest to tell us that she was team captain and earned three letters, among other accomplishments.)
Doors of Opportunity
Anthoney and Michelle both credit the opportunity to attend Camden Catholic for having opened many doors.
“Going to a very good high school, one that’s gotten national accolades, really gave me a strong foundation,” said Anthoney. “I wouldn’t have been able to attend an Ivy League school like Penn otherwise. And I wouldn’t be at one of the top MPA programs in the country now.”
Anthoney expects to attend law school at some point after completing his MPA at Indiana University. He’s looking to work in government relations or a similar field.
Throughout his career, he’s been building on values he says he learned not only at home but also from St. Joseph’s Pro-Cathedral School and then Camden Catholic. “Catholic schools have been pivotal to our development,” he said. “They taught us faith and how we should be in the world.”
Michelle also applies Catholic values in her school and work. At Rutgers-Camden, she started studying physical therapy. During her internship, she observed how the for-profit PT organization she worked for had to consider profit in making patient decisions. She therefore decided to work in an area where she could “influence policy and change the laws to protect people.” That’s the impetus behind her current work in public health at Drexel.
“Being able to attend Camden Catholic gave me a solid foundation at a college-prep high school,” Michelle said. “The basketball connections are important, but there’s also a global community of alumni. Everywhere I go, I see people from Camden Catholic.”
Asked what he wanted friends and supporters of the Domenica Foundation to know about Domenica Scholarship opportunities, Anthoney didn’t hesitate. “The children of Camden can do great things if they get the opportunity. If you give them the resources, they can do it. My family is proof of the value of a good education.”
The Domenica Foundation has awarded more than 300 scholarships to enable students like the Obasis to attend high-quality Catholic schools. Domenica Scholars have an impressive track record, starting with a high school graduation rate that far surpasses the Camden average.
Where They Are Today
Anthoney earned his associate’s degree at Camden County College and went on for his bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations at the University of Pennsylvania. After working for two years, he just entered a master of public affairs program at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington.
Kingsley studied mechanical engineering at Widener University. He completed a master of engineering management degree at Rowan University in 2019 and is now studying for another master’s degree in mechanical engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology while working full-time at Lockheed Martin.
Michelle is working as a test prep and academic tutor as she studies for a master of public health degree at Drexel University. Her concentration is community health and prevention, but she is also interested in maternal and child health. Michelle graduated from Rutgers University–Camden with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in Africana studies.
Joeachin completed his BS in chemistry, with a minor in mathematics, at Rowan University in 2020. He is beginning a master’s program in pharmaceutical sciences at Rowan and expects to complete his degree in 2023.