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| Second Collection Raises Funds for Catholic Scholarships |
Recognizing the value of Catholic education, Second Collection donations from generous parishioners in the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese have helped to open doors and provide greater opportunity for students seeking a private, Catholic college education. On Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 10-11, parishes in the Archdiocese are invited to support Catholic higher education by passing the collection plate a second time.
The money raised by the Second Collection is shared between the University of St. Thomas Father Francis E. Monaghan Scholarship Fund and the Catholic University of America. In the past, Second Collection has helped to raise thousands of dollars to support the academic advancements of students. Last year, $144,555 was directly awarded to UST students.
About 60 percent of St. Thomas students receive scholarships or financial aid. Providing these scholarships helps to relieve the academic stresses of hard working students.
Helen Rios (shown above) is a senior drama major and theology minor who will be the first person in her family to graduate from college.
“I chose UST because I knew I would benefit from a well-rounded academic experience that helps me grow in my faith while I learn from many liberal arts academic discipline,” Rios said. “At UST, I’ve been able to better myself in so many different ways, and I wouldn’t be able to do that without the generous financial aid and scholarships I have received.”
Andrew Zovath is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps who works full time while he completes his studies at UST. Zovath said the skills and knowledge he has gained by studying liberal arts with an emphasis in biology have helped him find a job well before graduation.
“My confidence in the science fields has grown and assisted me in obtaining a job in the petrochemical industry as a Corrosion Laboratory Technician,” Zovath said. “Scholarships provide me with a financial cushion that allows me to focus on school and devote time to my family without working extra hours to make ends meet.”
Dena Andrade is also studying biology. She chose UST because the University offers the level of academic rigor and the spiritual support she sought.
“St. Thomas has enhanced my life far beyond the classroom or biology lab. I didn’t think I would love my classes as much as I do. I truly love to learn, regardless of whether I studying the structure of the cell, writing an essay, reading a novel, learning about history, discussing philosophy or learning about my faith.”
Andrade said scholarships are absolutely crucial for her to continue studying at St. Thomas.
“As the first person in my family to attend college, I didn’t understand exactly how much college would cost. I love being part of the St. Thomas community. That’s why I work so hard to pay for each semester. I am so thankful for all the scholarships at UST that help students like me. Without scholarships, I wouldn’t be able to go to any university.”
Quyen Mong Nguyen is a junior environmental science major, which is unique among environmental programs in the United States. While many universities offer programs that study the environment from an ecological or economic perspective, UST goes a step further to explore environmental issues from a moral perspective in light of the Catholic intellectual tradition.
“I’ve learned so many things in both my environmental science and theology classes that have opened my eyes to my faith and how to care for others. I also learned that everything in the environment has a purpose,” Nguyen said. “Scholarships help take away the financial burden, so I don’t have to take out as many loans and graduate with debt. Without scholarships, I wouldn’t be able to attend a Catholic university and I wouldn’t have been able to take these kinds of courses.”