group shot of Domenica Scholars with Pepe and Elena Piperno at a Phillies game

Phillies Outing a Hit with Domenica Scholars

What an awesome day we had with Domenica Scholars at the Phillies game on September 24! As you can see, it was a perfect fall day for baseball. The nearly 30 scholars who accepted our invitation had a marvelous time.

Every year, the Domenica Foundation provides scholarships to enable rising 9th graders to attend Catholic high schools in South Jersey and the surrounding area. As long as they maintain their GPA, these scholars get support for all four years of high school.

Besides funding their education, we want our scholars to feel part of a community of young people who strive for excellence. Last year, we added a college visit to our support offerings. This year, we decided to add a fun and relationship-building event. 

Elena Piperno with Domenica Scholars outside the first base gate

The Phillies outing was a wonderful way to kick off the school year. Most of the scholars had never attended a professional sporting event. They kept saying “This is SO much fun!” and thanking us for the opportunity.

We particularly valued the opportunity to reconnect with our scholars–and to connect them to one another. Upperclass members were happy to see one another again, and they welcomed the ninth graders who are just beginning their tenure as Domenica Scholars.

Also on hand to support the students (and enjoy a great game) were Connie McSherry Reader, mental health counselor at Paul VI High School in Haddonfield and our primary liaison with our scholars, and Rudy Vidal, coordinator of outreach and engagement at Catholic Partnership Schools, the “feeder” schools for our high school scholars.

Pepe and Elena loved being able to chat with the scholars during breaks in the game. Elena asked seniors about their plans for their last year of high school and how they were thinking about college. A Camden Catholic scholar with top grades told Elena he is considering the University of Pennsylvania. He wants to study cognitive science, which he called “a growing field.”

“I was thrilled to learn firsthand how our investment in these students is paying off for them, their families, and their communities,” said Elena. “The game was fun, and I loved watching the students enjoy themselves and each other. But for me, the highlight was listening to their hopes and dreams.”

P.S. Unfortunately, the Phillies lost the game to the Atlanta Braves, the top-ranked team in the National League East. But our group didn’t care! We got what we came for: sharing fun and building connections. Plus, we got to cheer for a Bryce Harper home run!

adult and high school scholars with the Phillies field in the background
Connie McSherry Reader with Domenica Scholars at Citizens Bank Park