Nine Chester County Students Awarded Four-Year, Full High School Scholarships

Scholarship© relif / Getty Images Pro / Canva

PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Connelly Foundation this week announced its 2023 Neumann Scholars, awarding 50 academically talented eighth-grade students from 33 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 $8,700 a year, which over four years will amount to approximately $35,000 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 reward the academic achievements of these 50 students and the excellence of those who educate them,” said Josephine C. Mandeville, Chair of the Connelly Foundation Board. “The Neumann Scholars Program continues to encourage students to excel academically through a high quality Catholic education at an Archdiocesan high school.”

This year, 473 students from 116 parochial schools in the five-county area competed for the scholarships. The standardized test was administered on September 25, 2022. Among the 50 scholarship recipients are the following nine students from Chester County:

  • Lila H MelcherSt. Elizabeth
  • James P CassaliaSts. Peter & Paul School
  • Gideon PraveendhasSts. Peter & Paul School
  • Gavin R Smith, Sts. Peter & Paul School
  • Elisha M Madrasto, St. Elizabeth
  • James K KyleSts. Peter & Paul School
  • Minh D PhamSt. Agnes
  • Daniel O CoganSt. Norbert
  • Ryan P Greene, Sts. Peter & Paul School

Additionally, six students from Bucks County, seven from Delaware County, 17 from Montgomery County, and 11 from Philadelphia County. Saints Peter and Paul School in West Chester has five Neumann Scholars, the most student scholarship winners this year. Two students tied for the highest score: Yemi Kolawole from Notre Dame de Lourdes in Delaware County and Cameron Jones from Our Lady of Mercy in Montgomery County. Four students also have siblings who are previous Neumann Scholar recipients.

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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 skill 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 50 students announced this week join 121 current Neumann Scholars attending Archdiocese high schools. 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 1437 and a high score of 1600 (combined math and critical reading). The Connelly Foundation has funded more than 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 are 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 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence,” said Josephine C. Mandeville.

For more information about the Neumann Scholars Program, please visit https://connellyfdn.org/signature-programs/neumann-scholars.

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