As a former member of the Christian Service Award committee, and the mother of two Christian Service Award recipients, Michael and John, Tracy Ferrara has become one of the award’s best advocates.
The Christian Service Award was established by the Catholic Community Foundation 20 years ago to recognize eighth grade students who have served their parish, school and community. The $8,000 scholarship assists these students in attending a Catholic high school in the Diocese of Phoenix.
“I find the program wonderful solely for the fact that it is based on merit. I feel a lot of scholarships — especially after going through the college application process — that merit scholarships are few and far between, whether it’s based on service or academics,” said Ferrara.
The scholarships are competitive, but ease the financial burden that a Catholic high school education can bring to families that might not otherwise qualify for need-based scholarship programs.
“In the Catholic School, system there are many programs and private scholarship funds that are based on need only and this is the only product that I have found in the Diocese or in the state of Arizona that rewards kids for good Christian behavior,” she said.
In 2018, the Foundation awarded 47 scholarships. To Ferrara, the scholarships her sons received in 2014 and 2018 made a huge difference for her family.
“It’s a sacrifice to send your children to a Catholic school. Both of my children went to K-8 Catholic school, one graduated from Brophy and now one is entering Brophy and the cost of Brophy is more than ASU, technically,” said Ferrara. “I love this program because it’s based on what these children have done in their lives.”
Not only do the scholarships ease the financial commitment of Catholic high school tuition, they also encourage students to engage in their community through service and get involved in their parish.
John served in his parish, with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and with his boy scout troop earning his Eagle Scout award. Michael also served in a variety of capacities, but primarily with The James Walton Home, a transitional home for homeless veterans.
Scholarship recipients also have the opportunity to join the Youth Ambassador Association, which encourages leadership and service in the community. John, who was a 2014 recipient and recently graduated from Brophy College Preparatory, served as the program’s president.
“It’s nice to win the award because it looks great on a college application but it is much more than that. It’s more than just the money,” Ferrara said of the scholarship and the Youth Ambassador Association. “It’s the experience and the leadership that that these children get from it.”
Online applications for the Christian Service Award open on August 15, 2018 and the application deadline is October 15. Applicant interviews will be held on December 2. To learn more, visit ccfphx.org/CSA.BACK TO LIST