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Education Fund Making a Difference

Education Fund Making a Difference

By: Carmen Hawkins DeCecco

            Mariana Neri loves soccer.  She plays for her school and with her friends during her free time.  As an 8th– grader at her new school, John Paul II Catholic School in Ridgeland, South Carolina, she enjoys studying religion and Spanish.  Every day her favorite teacher, Mr. Curry, informs Mariana and her classmates they are awesome.

            “I love attending John Paul II Catholic School.  The teachers here really care about us.  They explain things if we don’t understand something, and they look out for us if we are not doing as well as we could.  I think I am getting a good education,” she says. 

            A SC resident for eight years, Mariana attends St. Anthony Mission Catholic Church.  She has three younger siblings, one of whom she babysits while also helping her mother with chores at home.  Her family is originally from Mexico, and Mariana also interprets English for them when necessary. 

            Mariana’s education is being made possible with support from a newly established Education Fund, established to assist children who want a Catholic education through St. Anthony’s Mission, but cannot afford the full tuition.  Money raised goes towards school fees, as well as incidentals, such as lunch, books, and supplies. 

            Principal John McCarthy is pleased at the progress of the Education Fund.  “I am so grateful to the individuals who have contributed to our tuition assistance fund by sponsoring students so they can attend John Paul II. The commitment they are making to our students will have a significant impact on their education.”

            Some of the benefits of a faith-based education for students include increased active in community service, higher grads, and a higher likelihood of graduating high school and attending college.  Smaller sized classes ensure each student gets more individual attention from teachers.  Strong moral values are instilled daily.

            Sponsorship levels include $500 up to $5,000.  Donations are accepted in $100 increments.  And while there are all levels of sponsorship to choose from, the Education Fund urges donors to settle on an annual donation.  A key aspect to this assistance, is that students need not worry they won’t be allowed to return the following year, because continuity in education is paramount.   

As of this writing, fourteen students had been accepted with help from the Education Fund, and they would like to see more applicants, and of course, more donations.

You can visit the schools’ websites at and  To contribute to the St. Anthony Mission Education Fund, or to apply for financial assistance to attend John Paul II, and St. Gregory the Great Catholic schools, please call Karen Widenhouse, at (843) 784-2943, or email

See Also

Mission Statement:

To provide the children of St. Anthony Mission an opportunity to attend our local schools 

– St. Gregory the Great Catholic School, and John Paul II –

by granting financial assistance as needed.

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