teen boys sitting on hay bales

Scholars Have S’more Fun

Our Domenica Scholars had so much fun at our hayride on Saturday! 

We do lots of educational activities with our high school scholarship students to promote their academic and personal success. (Even then, we still have fun!) The college visit described below is an example.

We also sponsor extracurricular events that give our scholars a chance to enjoy a new activity, with time to socialize. Last fall, we took students to a Phillies game. This year, 35 Domenica Scholars from four local Catholic high schools joined us for a hayride.

Riding in a tractor bed while sitting on bales of hay was a new experience for these city kids! The hayride took us to a campsite lit by two bonfires and real kerosene lanterns. After dinner by the fire, we played Heads Up, which gave everyone a good laugh.

Then it was time to make s’mores. Most of the students had never roasted a marshmallow, much less sandwiched one on top of a square of chocolate between two graham crackers.

“I shared my personal best practices for the perfect s’more,” said Elena Piperno, Domenica Foundation director, who led the event. “I feel like we went through about a million marshmallows!”/p>

At the end of the evening, the students expressed their gratitude and told Elena how much fun they had.

“I loved watching the students hang out and have fun with their friends by the fire,” said Elena. “Most of them don’t have many opportunities to get out into nature. Plus, we like getting our scholars together to reinforce for each other the fact that you can be a high-performing student and know how to have fun!” 

high school students posed on university campus

The previous weekend, we had a different kind of outing with Domenica Scholars: a visit to Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

Campus visits are an integral part of the journey toward a college education. Parents who attended college in the U.S. typically take their children on such visits. Our scholars, often the first in their families to set their sights on college, may not have that opportunity.

That’s why we offer college visits. On this visit to SJU, our scholars enjoyed an information session, a campus tour led by student docents, and lunch in the cafeteria. We make sure our college partners discuss financial aid options in their information sessions.

“Being on campus on a beautiful fall morning helps our scholars look forward to the college experience,” said Elena. “Instead of being an abstract idea—one that might feel scary because it’s unfamiliar—college comes to life. Students can start to feel, ‘This is a real thing. I can do this.’”

More photos from the hayride!