Originally published in The Journey magazine Vol. I, 2017

SCN Bicentennial scholarship recipient

A smiling young woman, Jennifer Carprio, received a life-changing award, Barbara Flores, SCN, presented her with a scholarship, as her grade school principal, one of many advocates in her life, stood by. Jennifer, a young woman in Belize, received the scholarship to attend high school from the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Without this award, her education would have likely ended after grade school.

In 2012, the Sisters established a Scholarship Fund in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Congregation. Contributions to the fund allowed the Sisters to offer tuition assistance to girls and young women who otherwise would not have a chance to receive an education. Scholarships were awarded in India, Nepal, Belize and the United States.

In Belize, although elementary school is free and compulsory until age 14, a high school education costs about $1,000 Belizean dollars a year, or the equivalent of $500 in the United States. Jennifer’s family, who struggles financially, decided that, with a lot of effort, perhaps they could send one child, a son, to high school. There would not be enough money to send Jennifer.

Thanks to her grade-school principal, who recognized the young girl’s potential, and to the SCN Bicentennial Scholarship Fund, Jennifer, like her brother, now attends high school. She is an excellent student with a very high grade-point average. Jennifer keeps in touch with the Sisters and shares her report cards.

In a conversation with Sister Barbara, Jennifer talked about the scholarship and the opportunity to go to a high school, “For me, as a young woman, this is a huge, wonderful and great opportunity to get this education. It is one I never imagined I would even get. Going to Our Lady of Guadalupe High School is opening up my world in ways I never thought possible.” Jennifer adds, “As a woman, I want to become a medical doctor. That is my dream. I want to help my family and I want to help people. Please thank the Sisters for me for the help. I will not let you down.”

Each Sister in Belize chose one student to receive a scholarship and that Sister maintains close contact with the student to ensure success. Sister Barbara has kept in touch with Jennifer. Jennifer excels in math and sciences. Jennifer, says Sister Barbara, is already giving back to her community. “Since I have skill in art, I have gone back to my primary school in my village and I help the teachers with drawing for their charts in the classroom,” says Jennifer. “I also help the students ….”

Sisters can’t wait to see where the future takes Jennifer. They are touched by the young woman, her gratefulness, drive, and dreams. “She is so excited about the opportunity for an education and always expresses deep gratitude,” reflects Sister Barbara.