The Foundation Trust, a private operating foundation serving Greater Boston, is pleased to announce the second year of providing financial need and family adversity-based scholarships to offset tuition costs for parochial school students. The trustees of the Foundation Trust established this scholarship to mitigate the financial burden of unanticipated adversity on a family’s ability to continue their child’s parochial education.

In its first year, the Foundation Trust provided scholarships to elementary school students from St. Mary of the Annunciation School in Melrose. For the 2019-2020 academic year, the Foundation Trust is expanding the geographic reach of its scholarship program by also providing scholarships to students attending Arlington Catholic High School. In total, the new Foundation Trust Regional Parochial School Scholarship Program awarded adversity and need-based full or half-tuition scholarships to six students for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Foundation Trust Executive Director and Trustee, Dr. Joseph Spinazzola, remarked “after a successful first year of scholarship support at St. Mary’s in Melrose, this year we were able to add scholarships awards to three students at Arlington Catholic High School. We are pleased that this new partnership was able to identify and support three outstanding students whose parochial education was at risk due to challenging life and financial circumstances. The Foundation Trust is humbled to assist these families in their times of need.”

Sophia Bost is a sophomore this year at Arlington Catholic High School. Sophia keeps busy with soccer and basketball, and is in almost all honors classes in school. Her drive as a student and athlete are particularly admirable, given the challenges she has faced over the last year.

Sophia’s father unexpectedly passed away last Thanksgiving. Sophia’s mother, Christine Simone, noted that “it was a particularly hard time to lose her father. Now she has to deal not only with the stress of being a teenager, but also with her grief.”

However, as her mother said “Sophia is an extremely resilient kid.” Even immediately after her loss, she wanted to go back to school, and she did not miss school or practices. The Arlington Catholic community rallied around Sophia, with students, teachers, and coaches reaching out with their support. “The school has been so supportive. It has been the place she needed to be, in spite of all she’s going through. She feels so supported there. She can keep herself engaged there and not have to always dwell on her loss,” shared her mother.

Keeping Sophia at Arlington Catholic for the next year was a priority for the family. “It would be devasting for Sophia to have to leave the school. You don’t realize the contribution of the other parent until they’re gone. The scholarship from the Foundation Trust makes a huge difference.”

Olivia Copeland is in her senior year at Arlington Catholic High School. She is currently busy with college applications and enjoying her final year at a school that feels like home, with friends and teachers who feel like family.

Olivia’s path has not been easy. In spite of the adversity she has faced due to a close family member’s mental illness, Olivia does very well at school, repeatedly appearing on the school’s honor roll. “I like to say she’s a smart cookie,” says Maureen Romanik, foster parent to Olivia who remains a critical figure in Olivia’s life.

Arlington Catholic High School has been an outstanding, supportive community that has helped her thrive. When she was younger, she found large class sizes overwhelming, so the smaller classes at Arlington Catholic were a big draw. “She has benefited so greatly from going to school there. They really look at each child and do whatever they can to make them successful,” says Maureen. “There was no way she was not going to attend Arlington Catholic for her senior year; we would have found a way to make it happen. But the scholarship from the Foundation Trust helped immensely, and we are so grateful that burden has been lifted.”

Olivia is very involved in Drama at Arlington Catholic. “Her love, her passion is theater. It is the thing that makes her smile brighter. She is so relaxed and looks so comfortable doing it,” comments Maureen. It is something Olivia plans to continue in college as well.

Her aspiration after graduating and going to college is to become a special education teacher, ideally blending elements of theater into her teaching.

Maureen concluded that “she’s one of those kids that’s determined to be a survivor. There is such strength and goodness in her. She accepts opportunities in life and keeps moving forward. I just know Olivia’s destined to do something wonderful.”

Nico Russo is a sophomore at Arlington Catholic High School. Like the other recipients of this year’s scholarship, he noted that the school “just feels like home.”

When he was twelve years old, Nico’s father was in an accident that left him disabled and in need of extended care at a group home. In spite of his family’s hardship, Nico remains an engaged student at Arlington Catholic High School. “He’s a great student, a great kid. I never had to worry about him keeping up with school work. Nico is an excellent writer, too,” shared Annetta Russo, Nico’s mother.

Nico’s favorite subjects in school are Chemistry and History. He is currently taking Honors World History, where he is enjoying learning about the French Revolution. Outside of school, hockey is his passion, where he plays defense. “I’m not sure yet what I want to do after high school,” commented Nico, “but it will probably include hockey!” interjects Annetta.

“The scholarship has been a blessing, it was crazy to find out I got it,” shared Nico. Annetta added that “we were really taken back. It has made a world of difference at a time when things were really rough and money was tight. We are so grateful.”

Linda Butt, Head of School at Arlington Catholic High School noted “we are so grateful to the Foundation Trust for partnering with us at Arlington Catholic. The generosity of the Foundation Trust allows us to reach out to families who desire for their children to have a strong college preparatory experience and one which is firmly rooted in educating students in leadership, empathy and service. We are confident that these deserving students will go out into the world and make a difference in the lives of others. In doing so, they will also feel inspired and uplifted in their own lives. The Foundation Trust is truly transforming lives through each and every child they help to educate.”

Additionally, three elementary students from Saint Mary of the Annunciation School in Melrose, Massachusetts received scholarships for the 2019-2020 academic year, including a second-year scholarship to one of last year’s recipients and emergency assistance to a Saint Mary’s family undergoing unanticipated financial hardship.

The Foundation Trust is especially happy to be able to provide tuition support to Britannie Fourcand, a second grader at St. Mary’s. Brittanie recently moved here from Haiti with her mother and sister to escape political unrest and make a better life. The family is living with relatives in Malden.

Dr. Spinazzola noted “when we heard about Britannie’s situation, it was right before the start of the school year. With the family right in the middle of a period of change and uncertainty, we were driven to help bring some stability to this family’s life and help them make a fresh start.”

“The problems in Haiti means there is no school. We came here in July and I was searching for a good school for my daughters,” explained Brittanie’s mother Emilie. Luckily, Saint Mary’s was close and able to accommodate the family, thanks in part to the scholarship from the Foundation Trust. While her immigration status is processing, Brittanie’s mother is unable to work, so she describes the support for Brittanie as “a great thing for me.”

Brittanie is adjusting to life in her new country. “She is doing really well,” shared her mother, Emilie. “Her teachers say she is doing great and picking up English quickly.” She is an active little girl who enjoys playing sports and “before going to school, during summer vacation, she had a gymnastics class she really liked.”

Christopher Beza, Principal, St. Mary of the Annunciation School, said “the Foundation Trust’s investment in our scholarship recipients is deeply appreciated. Without this support, it is likely these students would not have had the opportunity to attend St. Mary of the Annunciation School and benefit from a high-quality Catholic education. We are so grateful for our continuing partnership with the Foundation Trust and we appreciate its focus on providing assistance for families who are facing life adversities.”

The Foundation Trust congratulates the six students selected for the 2019-2020 Foundation Trust Regional Parochial School Scholarship!

 

For more information, contact Lauren Liecau at manager@foundationtrust.org.