8 Chester County Students Awarded 4-Year, Full High School Scholarships from Connelly Foundation

Connelly Foundation’s Neumann Scholars Program
Scholarships to 44 eighth grade students across the Philadelphia Archdiocese amount to a $1.49 million commitment from the Connelly Foundation

PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Connelly Foundation announced, in a virtual ceremony yesterday, its 2022-23 Neumann Scholars, awarding 44 academically talented eighth-grade students from 29 regional parochial schools with four-year, full scholarships to attend any Philadelphia Archdiocesan high school of their choosing. Each student will receive a grant for the full high school tuition (tuition varies by school) currently averaging $8,400 a year, which over four years will amount to approximately $40,000 individual value. The scholarships are named for Saint John Neumann, the fourth bishop of Philadelphia, who is credited with founding over 200 schools in the Archdiocese.

“The Connelly Foundation is thrilled to highlight the academic achievements of these 44 students and the academic excellence of the parochial grade school faculties and staff who educate them,” said Josephine C. Mandeville, Chair of the Connelly Foundation Board. “For over 25 years, the Neumann Scholars Program has encouraged these young women and men to reach even greater heights in academic success through a high-quality Catholic education at an Archdiocesan high school.”

This year, 463 students from 102 parochial schools in the five-county area competed for the scholarships. The standardized test was administered on September 26, 2021. Among the 44 scholarship recipients are the following eight students from Chester County:

  • Raymond Daley, St. Patrick School (Malvern)
  • Salvator DeBellis, St. Agnes School
  • Sophia DiGiovanni, Pope John Paul II School
  • Charlotte Klinger, St. Patrick School (Malvern)
  • Hannah Nguyen, St. Agnes School
  • George Schaffer, Pope John Paul II School
  • Jimmy Sleiman, Ss. Peter & Paul School
  • Teagan Welsh, St. Patrick School (Malvern)

Additionally, five students from Bucks County, 11 from Delaware County, 11 from Montgomery County and nine from Philadelphia County were awarded scholarships. Saint Pius X in Broomall was the school with the most scholarship winners, netting five recipients. The highest scoring student was James Gessig from Saint Anastasia School in Delaware County. Four students also have previous sibling winners.

“I was thrilled to learn that 44 eighth grade students from across the five-county Archdiocese of Philadelphia were named 2022 Neumann Scholars. These students persevered in the face of severe challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and excelled in their studies despite difficult obstacles. Their outstanding achievements would not have been possible without the hard work, collaboration, and dedication exhibited by their pastors, administrators, faculty, staff, and parents.” said Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez, Archbishop of Philadelphia, in congratulating the students.

The Archbishop continued, “I am deeply grateful to the Connelly Foundation for its longstanding and unwavering support of Catholic education in our Archdiocese. Not only do they continue to believe and invest in the tremendous gift of a Catholic education, but also have also been steadfast in their support of many other organizations that help our brothers and sisters in Christ who found themselves in need due to the pandemic.”

Launched in 1995, the Neumann Scholars Program identifies scholastically gifted eighth-grade students through an independently administered competitive examination. The criteria to sit for this year’s exam was a seventh grade Terra Nova standardized total test score of 90 or a cognitive skills index (CSI) score of 120, plus a 7th grade GPA of 92.0 or above. Students also needed to complete an application and an essay.

“The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has no better partner in Catholic education support than the Connelly Foundation.  In a second incredibly challenging year for students, school families, and educators, it is a great privilege to celebrate the academic achievements of these fine students,” said Andrew M. McLaughlin, Ed.D. Secretary of Elementary Education, Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The 44 students announced this week join 120 current Neumann Scholars attending an Archdiocese high school. Since its inception in 1995, the program’s graduates have enjoyed 100% college acceptance with over $200 million offered in college scholarships, 118 National Merit Finalists, four National Merit Semi-Finalists, 233 National Merit Commended Students, five National Merit Achievement Students and an average SAT score of 1418 and a high score of 1600 (combined math and critical reading). Since 1995, Connelly Foundation has funded just over 1,000 students with Neumann scholarships, amounting to about $30 million in Neumann scholarships awarded.

“These students and their schools demonstrate the success of Catholic schools in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Their accomplishments the result of the partnership between pastors, parents and teachers. It is also the reason why four Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese were also named 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence.” said Josephine C. Mandeville.

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