Scholarships serve as honor, help for Catholic students

Martie (Jay) Aboussie Jr.’s years at Christian Brothers College (CBC) High School were a time when he battled the illness that eventually cost him his life.

But the relationships he formed there and the education he received were so rewarding that his parents and classmates have raised funds to help future students attend the school.

Similar named scholarships across the archdiocese are helping Catholic high schools make education affordable for students in need.

Jay was a member of the National Honor Society and Senior of the Year of the Class of ’01. When he died in May 2006 at the age of 23 of a rare tumor, his parents asked that memorials to him go to the Missionaries of the Holy Family and to CBC.

‘Great Place’ wins teacher Great Ideas Award

Teacher Nanc Weis introduced Grace Place to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque School in Oakville and earned this year’s Great Ideas Grand Award from Today’s Catholic Teacher magazine.

Weis, who teachers fifth-through-seventh-grade religion, set up part of her office as a retreat for fellow teachers during their school day breaks. Naming it Grace Place, she set aside space for religious symbols, a prayer kneeler, a rocking chair, a box for intentions and other items conducive to quiet reflection and prayer.

Bill citing ‘virtual schools’ amended

School choice continues to be a concern in Missouri, which has one of the most stringent state prohibitions against aid to private and religious schools.

An omnibus education bill, SB291, gained first-round approval in the Missouri Senate last week. A portion of the bill involves what Mike Hoey, assistant director of the Missouri Catholic Conference, called "virtual schools."

Currently the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education oversees the Missouri Virtual Instructional Program (MoVIP), which offers online courses for kindergarten- through-12th-grade students statewide in both public and nonpublic schools.

Scholarships, appeals help provide student aid

Christian Brothers College High School has more than 60 named scholarships, each set up with a goal of reaching $25,000 or more in order to be endowed.

"We, like most institutions, do not touch the principal and use a portion of the earnings each year to award financial aid and scholarships to deserving students and their families," said Tom Bowers, director of institutional advancement at CBC.

The funds are in conservative investments in order to maintain the balances, he noted.

Martie and LeEllen Aboussie, parents of Jay Aboussie (Class of ’01) established a scholarship which, with the help of his classmates, has a goal of a fully endowed scholarship of $200,000, Bowers said.

A fully endowed scholarship can provide about $10,000 — a full scholarship, with tuition costing $9,675. Usually though, the funds are split into four $2,500 scholarships, Bowers said.

Choose truth, not prestige

Every day, Catholics confront the growth of an anti-life culture, fueled in large part by ignorance of truth and acceptance of relativism. It’s hard enough to defend and hold true to our faith when pressured and surrounded by messages from the media, pop culture and government that are contrary to our core beliefs. But when one of our own institutions ignores the profound risk of supporting anti-Catholic teachings it becomes much more difficult to stand united as one holy Catholic Church. This week, the University of Notre Dame, one of the premier Catholic education institutions in the United States, announced that President Barak Obama would be this year’s commencement speaker. The president also will receive an honorary degree. This invitation isn’t simply a matter of honoring a high-profile public official with differing philosophy on some issues, it’s an absurd affront to the unity Catholics must maintain to further the understanding of the word of God.

Despite criticism, Notre Dame firm on Obama as speaker

WASHINGTON (CNS) — University of Notre Dame officials were standing firm on their choice of President Barack Obama as commencement speaker at the institution’s May 17 graduation, in spite of a large number of Catholics calling on them to rescind the invitation.

The Indiana university, run by the Congregation of Holy Cross, and the White House announced March 20 that Obama would be Notre Dame’s 2009 commencement speaker and confirmed he will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the graduation.

"The invitation to President Obama to be our commencement speaker should not be taken as condoning or endorsing his positions on specific issues regarding the protection of human life, including abortion and embryonic stem-cell research," said Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame.

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