Matteo Stocco, Katie Svoboda, and Catherine McCaughey have been named the winners of Christendom’s 2019 Padre Pio Full-Tuition Scholarship competition.

From left to right: Matteo Stocco, Katie Svoboda, and Catherine McCaughey.

The three high school seniors stood out amongst a group of 76 finalists for the three full-tuition scholarships, writing exceptional essays and impressing college staff and faculty during the rigorous interview process. Together, the seniors will now each receive a four-year full-tuition scholarship to attend Christendom.

Stocco, a native of Winchester, Virginia, who was homeschooled in high school, fell in love with Christendom after attending the Experience Christendom Summer Program. After just one week of the classes and the culture, Stocco knew Christendom was at the top of his college list. He achieved a 114 on his Classic Learning Test (CLT), impressed the panelists at the scholarship competition, and will now be a freshman this fall — a fact that excites him daily.

“In a morbid, individualistic, and areligious society, Christendom teaches its students the Catholic Church’s response: that all lives matter, that ‘truth exists,’ that “the Incarnation happened,’” says Stocco. “As the college challenges us to ‘Dare to Be Great,’ it gives its students the tools to do so: a Catholic culture, authentic academics, and fervent faith. As I join many friends at Christendom, I look forward to growing with them into an army that will do ‘great work for the Church’ and for God. I know that I will greatly benefit from the fun, faith-based community, the excellent trustworthy professors, and the reassuring sense of Catholicism which comes from the protection and patronage of Christ the King.”

Svoboda, like Stocco, attended the Experience Christendom Summer Program in 2018. Hailing from Arlington, Virginia, Svoboda first became interested in the college thanks to several of her professors at Oakcrest School who were alumnae. Seeing the caliber of Christendom graduates, and after meeting other staff and current students, Svoboda knew it was where she wanted to go for college.

“The classes were what first made me love Christendom and I really look forward to challenging myself in the core, particularly the history courses,” says Svoboda. “I appreciate that Christendom is a true liberal arts college that values what is most important about education. I know the classes at Christendom will develop me as a person, not just in one subject.”

McCaughey, another homeschooler, is coming to Christendom from Nashville, Tennessee. Her cousin, Maria Bonvissuto, who herself was a Padre Pio Full-tuition Scholarship winner, graduated from Christendom in 2015 and encouraged McCaughey to consider it for college. After attending the Experience Christendom Summer Program, she decided to apply. McCaughey was impressed by the academic life and community she experienced during that one week and cannot wait to continue that journey over the next four years.

“Why am I excited to be attending Christendom? I love the academic life, the strong community, and most importantly, the Catholicism which is truly alive on campus,” says McCaughey. “Christendom is a place where I know I will be challenged to academic excellence, to be part of a vibrant community of people, and to live out my Catholic faith with passion and intention. It is a place where I can pursue my vocation in Christ and become the person God is calling me to be. Christendom is the place that will bring out the best in me, it is a place where I will thrive; in short, it is the place I can embrace as home. I am very excited to be attending this fall and I’m looking forward to the challenges and opportunities I know I will find there.”

The college also awarded $5000 runners-up scholarships to other exceptional Padre Pio finalists: Tom Baird, Sean Walker, Mary McCloskey, Constance Weber, and Kaelyn Marble.

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