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‘Adopt-a-Student’ scholar program recognizes success in its recipients

WORCESTER, MA (The Catholic Free Press) - Adopt a student. Change a life.

MADE A DIFFERENCE - Tyrone Tamakloe, a St. Peter-Marian graduate, is now a junior at Providence College. (Margaret M. Russell)

MADE A DIFFERENCE - Tyrone Tamakloe, a St. Peter-Marian graduate, is now a junior at Providence College. (Margaret M. Russell)

The 400 people at the first annual Adopt-A-Student Recognition Dinner last Thursday, saw plenty of evidence of lives that have been changed by the program.

Adopt-A-Student scholars and their families were honored guests at the dinner that raised $60,000 for the program that provides scholarships to diocesan Central Catholic schools: Holy Name Junior/Senior High; St Bernard High; St. Peter Elementary and St. Peter-Marian Junior/Senior High. Students who are academically strong and whose families cannot afford a Catholic school education are considered for the scholarships.

Four students were given special recognition at the dinner which promises to become an annual event.

Robert J. Kenney, dinner chairman and head of the Adopt-A-Student development committee, welcomed the students, families and donors to the dinner. William R. Driscoll, campus minister and religion teacher at St. Bernard’s, was emcee for the evening he called a celebration of “the best the Diocese of Worcester has to offer.”

Success stories

Current and former Adopt-A-Student scholars shared their experiences and thanks with those who made it possible for them to attend Catholic schools.

A video presentation also told the stories of three people — Andrew Crevedi, a Worcester police officer who was a 1991 St. Bernard graduate and 1995 College of the Holy Cross graduate; Jennifer Pagan a 2004 Holy Name graduate who is a senior at Assumption College, and Thomas Brennan, a senior at Holy Name. All attribute their success to Catholic school education made possible by Adopt-A-Student.

St. Peter’s seventh-grader Destinee Lucier told the audience that her Catholic school education is teaching her respect for everyone and she is gaining the skills and values she will need to succeed. Miss Lucier was later given the 2008 Paul and Dorothy Kervick Award for Leadership. She was nominated by her school because of her “outstanding involvement in service projects at school, church and throughout the community.” Besides being a good student, she is an athlete and Student Council member.

Evidence of success and gratitude were provided by two graduates of diocesan schools who were Adopt-A-Student scholars.

Amy O’Brien Davagian, familiar to those who follow women’s basketball, was a Holy Name standout who went on to break records at Holy Cross. Now the mother of a 3-year-old daughter, Mrs. Davagian said she will always be grateful to the Adopt-A-Student program. As she was explaining to her daughter that she was going out that evening to thank people who helped her go to Holy Name, she said she was touched by her child’s response: “Mom, I want to go to Holy Name too.” She reminded the audience that many students have the ability, the talent and the work ethic, but not necessarily the means for a Catholic school education.

Tyrone Tamakloe, St. Peter-Marian class of 2005, said his family did not have the means but that Adopt-A-Student helped him. Now he is a junior at Providence College studying to become a doctor so he can help others.

A young man who was making the show, stole the show later in the evening when he was given the 2008 Bill and Kay O’Brien Award for best exemplifying the values of the Adopt-A-Student program. Thomas Brennan, a senior at Holy Name, is apparently no stranger to the stage. He was conducting the Holy Name Select Chorus and Ensemble which provided musical entertainment for the evening. He was also featured in the Adopt-A-Student video. His fellow classmates gave him a standing ovation when he took the stage to receive his award.

Mr. Brennan, a member of the National Honor Society, serves as chorus president, he is a soloist and has played major roles in several musical productions. He is also a tutor, a Camp Sunshine volunteer and cantor in his parish. The O’Brien Award is given to a person who exemplifies a commitment to the ideals of education, faith, service and leadership.

St. Peter-Marian sophomore Alyssa Malmquist received the 2008 Wilfred and Bette Iandoli Award for Service. Miss Malmquist was cited for her involvement in service projects that help others in the school, church and community. She raised $5,000 for the SPM ad drive, is captain of the hockey cheerleading squad, a member of the Yearbook staff, teaches religious education in her parish, is a reader at Mass and works part time at Price Chopper.

The academic excellence award named for the former superintendent of schools and his wife was given to a Holy Name student. Regina Amorello, a senior, received the 2008 Charles and Beth McManus Award for Academic Achievement. Miss Amorello is ranked number one in her class and has consistently achieved high honors in challenging advanced placement classes. A teacher said she is dedicated to her school work and “exhibits the desire to grow as a scholar.”

Crossroads of education

Bishop McManus thanked Mr. Kenney and Robert R. Pape, Adopt-A-Student chairman, for the new vitality they have infused into the program.

Catholic education is at a crossroad, he said. “Obtaining a Catholic school education, because of escalating tuition, has been a challenge,” he said.

“The mission of providing young people with a Catholic school education belongs to the entire community. And this dinner is a testament to that,” Bishop McManus said.

“The type of education we offer is fundamentally different. Every thing we do, everything we teach is seen through the prism of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“We are about the job of changing lives, not only for the good of the Church, but for the good of society,” he said.

Mr. Pape announced at the end of the dinner that Adopt-A-Student had just received a $100,000 commitment to the program. The donor wished to remain anonymous, he said.

Major funding for the dinner, held at Crowne Plaza Hotel, was provided by the J.D. Powers family.


This story was made available to Catholic Online by permission of The Catholic Free Press (, official newspaper of the Diocese of Worcester, Mass.



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