It was my vision to create a venue to bring significant members of our St. Francis community together, share our current successes, provide a vision for the next steps in sustaining and growing St. Francis, and to let you hear testimonials from students who have directly benefited from the generosity of donors like yourself. It was also a goal to make this a student run event, which I feel blessed to have an amazing chef like Jacob able to cater this experience.
Earlier I mentioned the need for intentionally reaching out to current and new markets-- to not only share the value proposition, but to also target quality students who could benefit from, and contribute to, the St. Francis experience. This is my request and challenge to you: access to St. Francis can only grow if we significantly increase financial support – both need-based tuition assistance and scholarships. You can see from our events and the annual appeal, that the support for need-based tuition assistance is up.
But this is not enough. Over 50% of our student population receives tuition assistance of some kind. This next year, based on prior experience, we launched the Presidential Scholarship. This award is for well-rounded, high-achieving young men and women who want to commit to excellence and commit to being an ambassador for the school. For the 2013-2014 school year we awarded 4.
These 4 year scholarships require students to demonstrate a commitment to service and excellence in all 4 arenas of Salesian school life – home, school, church, and playground. It is our vision to award 4 new ones each year. The data shows that targeted, top, well-rounded students will not only yield success for that one student, but that more students from that school/market will come with him or her and they, too, will find success. It has worked in other schools within our Province and the Eastern Province, and we know that it will increase the number of quality students who come to and graduate from St. Francis.
For tonight, we ask that you join the President’s circle of donors and support our scholarship program. We know that what you pledge or give to tonight will directly affect the sustainability and growth of St. Francis High School. Your generosity is crucial to fulfilling our mission. With it, we can continue to offer this unique, faith-based educational experience to all qualified students who value excellence, service, and leadership.
I want to thank Lulu, Noah, Jacob, Michele, and Lina for making this night possible. Will you join me in a round of applause and thanks? I also want to thank each and every one of you for coming tonight and for continuing to support the mission and vision of St. Francis High School. We have brochures articulating the various scholarships and need-based awards as well as pledge cards for you to fill out. We ask that you hear the messages from our students and look deep into your heart. An investment into the scholarship program of St. Francis is not just about a student; it is an investment into our collective future. It is an investment into our global community as we mentor young people to be confident and dynamic women and men of Catholic character.
Yes, I am passionate about our young people and our school, and I hope to share that passion with you long after tonight. The students, administrative team and I welcome the opportunity to speak with you; and, we welcome the opportunity to expand upon our relationship.
I hope you find it in your heart to commit what you can to make this dream a reality for many more students to come. God bless, and GO SHARKS! Thank you.