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Michael Stapleton, Clara Raabe, and Rodolfo LLobet have been named the winners of Christendom’s 2020 Padre Pio Full-Tuition Scholarship competition.

Although the college was not able to host the annual competition in person this year, the college’s admissions team quickly adjusted, hosting a virtual essay competition instead. The competition was the largest the college has ever held, with 74 impressive students — all with a deep love of Christendom — making the competition one of the most rigorous the college has ever experienced. Ultimately, LLobet, Raabe, and Stapleton distinguished themselves with exceptional essay submissions and impressed judges with their eagerness to immerse themselves in the college’s rigorous and authentically Catholic liberal arts curriculum.

Stapleton, a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, who will soon be graduating from Knoxville Catholic High School, first discovered Christendom through the Newman Guide, which recommends colleges based on their academic fidelity to the Magisterium and Catholic campus culture. As Stapleton began to seriously consider his college options, he realized how important it was for him to attend a college that would foster his faith.

“I don’t suppose I ever would have applied [to Christendom] if I had not realized what it means to live the Catholic Faith, and what perils I would find at other colleges,” Stapleton shared. “This realization, coupled with a growing love of the Faith, made it clear to me that I would be insane not to apply.”

After attending the college’s Experience Christendom Summer Program and applying for admission, Stapleton now looks forward to starting his Christendom education in the fall, diving into his classes, and pursuing extra-curricular activities, such as participating in the college’s Chester Belloc debates. Most importantly, Stapleton is looking forward to growing in his Faith with the support of a faith-filled community.

“At Christendom, every aspect [of the community] is saturated with Catholic life; that is, the Sacraments and the grace they bring…I can’t wait to be immersed in this life that Christendom creates,” Stapleton remarked.

Clara Raabe, a native of Valley View, Texas, is excited to begin her Christendom education this fall. Raabe has known about Christendom for years, with three of her older sisters having graduated from the college, and another sister currently enrolled. Over the past eight years, Raabe has had the opportunity to visit the campus on multiple occasions, giving her the chance to become well acquainted with the faculty, the campus culture, and the nature of the education.

When it came time for Raabe to explore her college options, she knew she wanted an education that would provide her with “foundational skills,” such as critical thinking, analysis, research, problem-solving, and leadership. But most importantly, Raabe was seeking an education that would help her become the most virtuous version of herself.

“Like my sisters, I wanted to attend a college that offered a well-rounded education that would enable me to be the best person I could be, and no other college could match the academic excellence and wholesome environment of Christendom College,” Raabe shared.

Now, Raabe is excitedly awaiting the beginning of her college career. With many different interests, from debate, to playing the trumpet, to graphic design and photography, Raabe is excited to use her talents to get involved in campus clubs.

“I’m counting down the days until I move into my dorm and join the Christendom community. I look forward to meeting my professors, developing new friendships, and participating in Christendom’s lively traditions,” Raabe shared. “Christendom College will dare me to be great, and I cannot wait to take on that challenge.”

Rodolfo LLobet, who will soon be graduating from Kolbe Academy Homeschool, is excited to begin his college career at Christendom in August. Christendom has been on his radar for several years, so in the summer of 2019 he attended the Experience Christendom Summer Program, where he was impressed by the excellent academics, the counselors, and Christendom’s Catholic culture. This experience “sealed the deal,” and LLobet was certain he would apply.

“When I started my college search, I was looking for a college education that would allow me to be the best man I could possibly be,” LLobet shared. “It had to be an institution of higher education that was founded on the principles of natural law, truth, and western civilization.”

LLobet has found these essential features in Christendom, and now he is excited and ready to begin his college career. Outside of his studies, he is hoping to hone his swing dancing skills and try out for the Crusader baseball team in the spring of 2021.

“I cannot wait to delve deeper into the rich academics at the college while having Christ the King at the center of all of it,” LLobet shared.

The college also awarded $5,000 runner-up scholarships to other exceptional Padre Pio finalists: Katharine Michael, Aidan Moorehouse, Kathleen Thomas, Mary Morgan, and Rita Penny. The admissions office looks forward to welcoming these exceptional scholars to campus in August, along with the rest of the Class of 2024.

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