Six short years ago, Julie Baum, a senior member of our team here at the Foundation, met a young Latina girl at an Open House at St. Edward School in Jeffersontown. A very effective self-advocate, she told Julie that she wanted to start her seventh-grade year at St. Edward. She explained that her public middle school experience was not a good one, and she desperately wanted a change. In her words, “I really want to go to St. Edward, but we don’t have the money. Can you help me?”
So we went to work and did our thing, putting together a tuition assistance package that allowed both her and her younger sister to attend St. Edward School.
But that was just the beginning.
For the next two years, she shines like a star! Her studies improve, her friendships expand, her faith becomes stronger and she is happier!
As it were, we maintained contact with her and her family to see how things were going. In the fall of her eighth-grade year, we asked the age-old question, “Where do you want to go to high school?” Her immediate response — Mercy Academy.
But she knew it couldn’t happen. Even with Mercy’s best tuition assistance award, it wouldn’t be nearly enough for her family. She lamented in disappointment that her Catholic school dream was fading.
And then Julie went to work again, negotiating with the school and finding a private benefactor who would supplement the $5,000 per year gap (the Foundation’s tuition assistance funding generally stops after the eighth grade).
Last May, this young Latina student graduated from her dream school, Mercy Academy. And this past fall, with the guidance and accompaniment of the Foundation staff, she joined the ranks of the freshman class in the business school at Bellarmine University.
Four years from now, she will be a well-educated, ambitious, bilingual and faith-filled woman who will take the world by storm and write her own script for success.
What could be better?
What seemed an unlikely pathway six years ago has changed this young woman’s life — and that of her family — forever. Thanks to each and every one of our donors!
Is Catholic school within your reach? At the Catholic Education Foundation, “The Answer is YES!!”
Rich Lechleiter is the president of the Catholic Education Foundation of Louisville.