The 2017-2018 school year at Vandebilt Catholic High will be the first of many years for the Arlen Benny Cenac Jr. Sacred Heart Scholarship Fund. As stated by the Houma Times, the donation of $50,000 per year is directly provided from Arlen Benny Cenac Jr. and his foundation, The A.B. Cenac Jr. Foundation.
The Sacred Heart scholarship is inspired by Fr. Andre Coindre who established schools for the poor children in Lyon, France. He later founded the Brothers of the Sacred Heart to run the schools he began. Fr. Coindre showed concern for the dilemma of orphaned children by making available to them the education that theirs families could not give them as well as provide them with a trade. The goal of the Sacred Heart Scholarship is to offer quality Catholic education to children from families that might otherwise not be financially able to afford one.
Father Andre Coindre was born in Lyon, France, in 1787. Devoting his life to the restoration of the Church following the Reign of Terror at the end of the French Revolution, his chief mission became the moral, intellectual, and religious development of young orphan boys left in distress by the consequent disintegration of family life.
Father Coindre had envisioned a community of brothers trained to work with the poor through the establishment of schools; in 1821 that dream became a reality with the formation of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. After Father Coindre’s death in 1826 and at the end of Father Francis Coindre’s administration, Brother Polycarp, the first Brother Superior General, assumed leadership of the struggling community. His tenure was marked by a period of tremendous growth. By the time of his death in 1859, the Institute had grown to over 400 Brothers in 70 schools. For obvious reasons, Vandebilt was inspired by Father Coidre and this scholarship has been a wonderful addition to the Vandebilt repertoire.
The amount of $50,000 will be dedicated towards tuition assistance of children from families in financial need. The awards will range from $1,000 to the total cost of tuition per year and may extend multiple years while a student is enrolled at Vandebilt Catholic High. The criteria for being eligible for this grant will be based on need, desire, recommendation and selection.
“Because of generous donors like Mr. Cenac, we are able to witness the true mission of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart lived out today within our school,” said Melanie Prentice, the advancement director at Vandebilt, in a recent interview with a Houma Times reporter. “The impact that this scholarship will have is immeasurable in assisting a student’s financial need to continue their Catholic education. We cannot thank Mr. Cenac and his foundation enough for this blessed gift.”
For one reason or another, these households are unable to afford to send their children to Vandebilt Catholic High but through Mr. Arlen Benny Cenac Jr’s gracious impact he has helped nine families change their lives forever, just this year. We look forward to seeing the impression this scholarship fund has in the years to come. “The influence of a great education is something that cannot be replaced. I want to make sure I am doing my part in helping these young adults achieve greatness along with building strong core values of integrity and excellence,” said Cenac.