As our recent graduates head into the world, we are confident they are prepared for college and for life. Of the 101 students in the Class of 2021, 93 percent are choosing to go directly into postsecondary education, most in four-year colleges. Their destinations vary from Rome to Hawaii and from Chicago and South Bend, Ind., to Maryland and Kansas.
Monica Nokes is one of four graduates to be admitted into the University of Notre Dame, an unusually high number for a school our size, and the only one who accepted. One of the top five students in her class, she received a University Scholarship from Notre Dame as well as one from the Notre Dame Club of Louisville.
Notre Dame originally caught her interest based on stories her parents told about attending and meeting there. She made it her college choice based on what the university has to offer.
“The campus is beautiful, and the history and rich traditions are so meaningful to me,” Monica said. “I was also drawn to it because it will be academically challenging and offer so many research opportunities, and I am looking into studying abroad.”
Monica plans to major in environmental science in order to study conservation and research “ways to help humanity be more sustainable,” she said. She is looking forward to all she will learn and experience at Notre Dame.
“I’m looking forward to pushing myself academically and growing in all areas of my life: mentally, physically, and spiritually,” she said. “I can’t wait to gain more independence, and I’m looking forward to meeting people from diverse backgrounds who I’m sure will teach me so much!”
Kieran Kelly and Zach Aurilio will attend Loyola University Chicago, with Zach starting his first year in Rome, a story previously featured in the eVision. Kieran said Loyola is all that he was looking for in a college – a medium-sized school with a variety of areas of study and extracurriculars. More importantly, he liked the atmosphere and location.
“It had that traditional college feel but all the perks of being in a big city, especially Chicago,” Kieran said.
Kieran, who is ranked in the top 10 students in the class, is leaning toward majoring in international relations or another social studies-related field, and he plans to continue his involvement in extracurriculars, whether intramural sports or even continuing his swim career on the club swim team.
“Also, Loyola has a lot of theatre opportunities for everyone regardless of major, so I’d like to try some of that out too,” Kieran said.
Kieran received the Damen Scholarship and Director’s Scholarship to help cover a large portion of his expenses, allowing him to afford to attend the university.
“It means a lot to me (to receive the scholarship) because it means that I have the ability to attend a really great school like Loyola,” Kieran said. “The school has a lot of unique opportunities and experiences to offer, so I will definitely make the most of the scholarship.”
Mackenzie Pfund is traveling the furthest within the United States to attend Hawaii Pacific University for college. Located in Honolulu on the island of Oahu, the university stood out because of its marine biology program, which includes a boat dedicated for students use for classes and research, she said.
“The thing that most attracted me to Hawaii Pacific was that it was on an island, and it would be great for my major,” Mackenzie said.
Mackenzie received the Hawaii Pacific Dean’s Scholarship, which will help cover the out-of-state tuition.
Several other graduates received significant scholarships from their college of choice, providing them with the means to attend. Miranda Harley, who is ranked in the top five students in the class, received the Presidential Non-Resident Scholarship as well as the James E. Casey Scholarship – Sponsored by The UPS Foundation in agreement with National Merit Scholarship Corp.
Miranda said she was eager to attend UK “because the school seemed to have everything I could ever want. Its campus is gorgeous, but I also get to be in Lexington and have things outside campus to do. The programs and academics also drew me in as I felt like I’d be able to get an amazing education there as well.”
She plans to major in finance and get involved in campus life, including participating in club volleyball and joining a sorority. She is grateful for the scholarships that will allow her to experience all the UK has to offer.
“Receiving this scholarship has meant so much to me as I’ve worked hard for a very long time now,” Miranda said. “I’ve put so much time and effort into my education, so receiving this scholarship has shown that my hard work has paid off. It also means that all my teachers’ hard work has paid off, too, as they’ve played a very big role in getting me to this point in my life.”
Anna Coe also will attend UK and is a recipient of the prestigious Bluegrass Spirit Scholarship and Legacy Scholarship, which will cover a large portion of her costs. A lifelong UK fan, she said she wanted to attend college there because she likes the look of the campus and for the university’s wide variety of opportunities.
Receiving such a significant scholarship helps her afford an out-of-state school, for which she is grateful, she said.
“I’ve always wanted to go to UK, and receiving this scholarship makes me feel appreciated and welcomed,” Anna said.
Beth Wimsatt, who received the PHS Service Award for providing more than 400 hours of Christian Service during high school, has been accepted into the San Damiano Scholar program at Marian University, which includes a scholarship. She will major in nursing with a minor in pastoral leadership.
San Damiano Scholars are not only strong students who love learning but also are leaders dedicated to serving others. Additionally, they have a desire to work or serve in a faith-based capacity after college.
Beth said she hopes to become a part-time youth minister after college and looks forward to learning more about evangelization and sharing the Word of God.
“The San Damiano Program is truly remarkable in the way that so many people who are different in so many ways come together because of one common belief,” Beth said. “Not only would I have the ability to strive and grow in my own faith but I would be able to encourage the faith of those around me.”
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