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Recent graduate John Dean ’22 has been awarded the first Michael Echaniz Debt Relief Scholarship for New Teachers.

Recent graduate John Dean ’22 has been awarded the first Michael Echaniz Debt Relief Scholarship for New Teachers, assisting him in his teaching vocation. The scholarship honors Echaniz’s memory and continues his legacy by encouraging and supporting prospective teachers.

“This scholarship means a lot to me, both on a practical and personal level,” says Dean, who will be teaching at Chesterton Academy of St. Mary’s this fall. “While I didn’t know Michael very well during the time we were both at Christendom, he was very much someone I looked up to and admired. I hope to honor Michael through my work by spreading a love of the good, the true, and the beautiful through providing my students with a quality Catholic education.”

Echaniz ’20 was killed on March 10, 2022, at just 23 years of age. A dear friend, son, brother and uncle, Echaniz was known for his passion for education and evangelization and a love for his students. Before his passing, Echaniz was a teacher for Great Hearts Forest Heights in San Antonio, Texas, where he also served as a basketball coach.

Michael Echaniz with his parents at his 2020 college graduation. Echaniz was killed on March 10, 2022, at just 23 years of age.

Michael Echaniz with his parents at his 2020 college graduation. Echaniz was killed on March 10, 2022, at just 23 years of age.

The scholarship was created in his name shortly after his passing in order to honor his memory, with the scholarship awarded each spring to one or more graduating seniors who are pursuing a career in education. The scholarship helps make that career possible by forgiving a portion of the recipient’s student loans, enabling them to pursue the same vocation about which Echaniz was so passionate.

“In the time that has passed since the murder of my son Michael, our family has come to a deeper appreciation of one of Warren Carroll’s favorite lines: ‘One man can make a difference,’” says John Echaniz, Michael’s father. “He was a true friend to so many in the Christendom community and beyond. Michael was taken from us in an act of violent selfishness. What better response can there be but one of selfless love? The outpouring of Mass offerings and other spiritual gifts we received were overwhelming and have sustained us in our darkest moments. The scholarship that Christendom established in his name is a beautiful expression of generosity by so many who loved him, to honor the life he lived by helping other new teachers make the same leap into education that he did after graduation.”

Great Hearts Forest Heights erected this memorial garden for Michael Echaniz, at the school’s carpool pick up and drop off point.

Great Hearts Forest Heights erected this memorial garden for Michael Echaniz, at the school’s carpool pick up and drop off point.

Dean was chosen as the first recipient of the scholarship after a competitive application process. His  desire to share both a love of learning and seeking after virtue to his students, along with his excellent GPA and his upcoming teaching position, helped secure him the scholarship.

Now, Dean is able to pursue his vocation as a teacher, filled with immense gratitude and relief at having a portion of his student loans forgiven, better setting him up for success in the future.

For students interested in learning more or applying for the Michael Echaniz Scholarship, please contact Christine Schmidt in the college’s Business Office at christine.schmidt@christendom.edu.

For those looking to contribute to the Michael Echaniz Debt Relief Scholarship for New Teachers, or to the creation of a St. Cyprian clerestory window in honor of Echaniz in the college’s new Christ the King Chapel, please visit here.

Recent graduate John Dean ’22 has been awarded the first Michael Echaniz Debt Relief Scholarship for New Teachers.
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