Last week, we welcomed 18 new rising high school students to the family of Domenica Scholars. The scholarship event, held at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Camden on April 26, was a beautiful celebration of aspiration, perseverance, and hope.
All 18 new Domenica Scholars are graduating this spring from Catholic Partnership Schools, where they have benefited from Domenica Foundation support. Two are younger siblings of current Domenica Scholars. Our scholarship program is a real family affair!
Moved by the students’ achievements and their families’ joy, we went back to their scholarship applications to remind ourselves — and you — what makes Domenica Scholarships so important.
As one would expect in a scholarship application, the students emphasized their accomplishments and their determination to excel in high school.
Furthermore, they talked about the importance of a solid education. Many said that they value Catholic education for the opportunity not only to be challenged academically but also to learn and grow in faith.
But we were particularly moved by the students’ concern for their families. Knowing that a high-quality education is expensive, many said that they want to relieve their parents of that financial burden. For example, Leanne, a child of immigrants from Southeast Asia, wrote, “Receiving a scholarship would allow me to help my parents have less stress.” Cristian wrote that the scholarship would be “very beneficial for my mother,” a single mom.
Who wouldn’t want to support kids with such compassionate hearts?
The keynote speaker at the scholarship event was Xavier Roque, an alum and member of the board of Catholic Partnership Schools. Speaking of the scholarships being a family affair: Xavier and Elena Piperno were in high school together, and Xavier’s brother was an early Domenica Scholar, class of 2009.
In his address, Xavier told the students to take full advantage of the opportunities of high school, including extracurriculars and new friendships.
“But while you are doing all this, remember why you are going to high school,” he went on to say. “Remember that your education comes first. Remember all the work you and your families, friends, and teachers have put in to get you to this point. Remember to honor all that hard work by continuing to work hard.”
We have every confidence that the 2026 class of Domenica Scholars will follow this advice. Previous classes certainly have! Since 2006, more than 320 Domenica Scholars have graduated from high school, and nearly all have gone on to college. Over and over again, we have seen how hard-working low-income and immigrant students have taken full advantage of their high school education to pursue their dreams and improve their lives.