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 college education. All parishes in the Archdiocese are invited to continue that legacy and participate in the Second Collection for Catholic Higher Education on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 11-12.
The money collected 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, $142,866 was directly awarded to UST students.
More than 75 percent of St. Thomas students receive scholarships or financial aid, and providing these scholarships helps to relieve the academic stresses of hard working students.
Brittany Garza, a sophomore math major on the pre-med track, has benefitted from UST scholarships made possible by generous Second Collection donations. Garza said she greatly values the opportunity to pursue a Catholic college education.
“Attending St. Thomas has enhanced my life by helping me grow in my Catholic faith,” she said. “I have always held faith as a top priority in my life, but I was never able to share it with people outside my immediate family as deeply as I can now.
“Involvement in Campus Ministry, FOCUS and attending Mass with other students has provided me with an amazing network of believers with whom I have developed a deep spiritual connection,” Garza said. “Taking theology classes has enabled me to learn more and choose my faith for myself as an adult. Now I am even more proud to be Catholic.”
As one of the 25 students to participate in the five-week 2009 Math and Science Summer Institute, Garza got a jump start on her UST experience the summer before her freshman year. The program is part of the Department of Education’s College Cost Reduction Access Act/Hispanic-Serving Institutions program (CCRAA-HSI). A main priority of the grant is to increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students attaining degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
She is also in the Honors Program, which embodies the goals of Catholic liberal arts education by providing an academically challenging interdisciplinary program of team-led seminars that focus on classical texts.
“Being in the Honors Program gives me a better understanding of the life I am living, its deepest questions and its possible answers,” she said. “I enjoy the rigor and reflection with which is required to do well in my classes. I appreciate that each of my teachers sincerely helps me aim for success.”
Garza said she is eternally grateful for the scholarships she receives and she encourages parishioners to donate to Second Collection so other students can benefit from a Catholic liberal arts education.
“These scholarships have helped me and my family so much,” she said. “I am already working part-time. Without them, I would have to finance my education through additional loans. Your scholarship donations can remove the financial worry and help students grow in their faith and focus on their studies.”