St. Anthony of Padua School has a number of scholarships that could help financially challenged parents secure a Catholic education for their children.
“We have over 20 scholarships” that these parents can tap to get their children enrolled at the parochial school, Principal Mary Lou Hoffman said.
To start with, there are academic scholarships available, she said.
There are also scholarships that come from individuals who donate money in memory of a loved one. Fund-raising activities conducted by the school, such as the annual See’s Candy sales, likewise generate funds that could assist parents in need of tuition assistance for their children.
“This year, we helped two to three families,” thanks to this fund-raising project, Hoffman noted.
The school’s scholarship pot is replenished every year as well by generous donations from different parish organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, YMI (Young Men’s Institute), ICF (Italian Catholic Federation), YLI (Young Ladies Institute), to name just a few of those groups.
There is also a tuition-assistance program offered by the Diocese of Stockton called SEEDS.
This scholarship is available to parents, “if there’s a need” for this financial infusion, who want to send their children to St. Anthony School but would otherwise not do so for lack of financial capability. The amount that can be awarded from this scholarship source is offered on an individual basis depending on the families’ income situation and number of children.
To apply for this scholarships, parents need to fill out a form. It’s an assistance that’s available to all schools in the diocese, Hoffman said. Students have to be currently enrolled in a Catholic school to be eligible for this scholarship.
Another organization extends scholarships to students from elementary through college is the Mary Stewart Rogers Foundation in Modesto.
Currently, St. Anthony School has a total enrollment of 325 students which includes the preschool.
All in all, the diocese has 3,600 enrolled in the 11 elementary schools (K-8) and two high schools. Central Catholic High School in Modesto has an enrollment of 372. St. Mary’s High School in Stockton has a student population more than twice the Modesto campus — a total of 885, according Carla Donaldson, director for Catholic Schools or the Diocese of Stockton.
Catholic education is more than a financial investment for parents who send their children to parochial schools, St. Anthony of Padua pastor Patrick Walker, himself a public school teacher before he entered the priesthood.
“Catholic education has a number of benefits not offered by schools in the public sector,” he noted.
“The first is Catholic identity which is vital to me as a Pastor. Our Catholic identity is reinforced by religion classes taught each week and weekly school Masses. This is further reinforced by classroom visits from the parish priests,” he said.
“Other benefits include the experience of family that has been a regular part of our school for decades. Our faculty works hard including before and after school hours to make sure that every student succeeds. St. Anthony’s school students have often been in the top tier of academic performance in Catholic or public high schools,” he added.