Louisiana High School Seniors Earn National Merit Scholarships

An article from The Advocate announced recently that thirty-four of the forty Louisiana scholarships awarded so far as part of the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program are on their way to some very deserving high school seniors from the New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette areas.  These winners were announced Wednesday, May 13, 2020 joining the other seven who were announced April 21.

Additional winners for the National Merit Scholarship program are expected to be announced June 3 and July 13. At the culmination of this year’s competition, over 7,500 students nationwide will have won National Merit Scholarships.  The 2020 competition will award students with scholarships totaling more than $30 million.

The most recent round of National Merit Scholarships were for $2,500 each, and all but one was financed by the organizers of the National Merit scholarship program. The scholarships that were announced on April 21 were funded by corporations and ranged anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 per year.

Two New Orleans high schools, Jesuit and Ben Franklin, led the way statewide in scholarships in the first two rounds, at six and four recipients, respectively.

Baton Rouge found three of its high schools tied for three scholarships each – those schools being Catholic, Baton Rouge Magnet, and St. Joseph’s Academy.

Two Lafayette area schools, Ascension Episcopal School and Southside High, are home to one recipient each.

The winners of this year’s National Merit scholarships were drawn from a pool of 16,000 semifinalists and 15,000 finalists.  This pool came from the over 1.5 million high school juniors who took the PSAT in October 2018.

Details on all the Louisiana winners are below – congratulations and we wish you all the best in the future!

New Orleans Region National Merit Scholarships:

Dominic T. Allain, Salmen High in Slidell; Christopher N. Barron, Northshore High in Slidell; Andre R. Bourque, Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts in Natchitoches; Tomaso H. Dire, Ben Franklin High; Olympia R. Baldwin Edwards, Ben Franklin High; Mary Grace Foster, Lusher Charter School in New Orleans; Charlotte L. Fowler, Ursuline Academy in New Orleans; Emily C. Gibbons, Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy in Westwego; John M. Gunaldo, Jesuit High; Salma Ashraf Heram, Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy in Westwego; Thomas S. Levy, Jesuit High; Milan Mardia, Jesuit High; Hayes T. Martin, Jesuit High; Christian T. Nguyen, Jesuit High; Amanda L. Phillips, Fontainebleau High in Mandeville; Dominic J. Stoner, Jesuit High; Hayley E. Sumich, Mt. Carmel Academy in New Orleans; Joseph V. Wagner, Ben Franklin High; Charlotte C. Williams, Isidore Newman School in New Orleans; and David Y. Zhang, Ben Franklin High.

Baton Rouge Region National Merit Scholarships: 

Sophie K. Faircloth, Denham Springs High; Nicholas M. Fanguy, Catholic High; Celia A. Kiesel, Episcopal High; Joshua J. Langlois, Catholic High; Sara G. Mayeux, St. Joseph’s Academy; Krishna R. Pochana, Baton Rouge Magnet High; Adam Lowery Reid, Episcopal High; Shreya V. Reshamwala, St. Joseph’s Academy; Stewart A. Roeling, Catholic High; Amy E. Ruckman, Baton Rouge Magnet High; Thuc Nhan N. Tran, St. Joseph’s Academy; and Cindy Y. Zheng, Baton Rouge Magnet High. Nine are residents of Baton Rouge. Of the other three recipients, Faircloth lives in Denham Springs, Mayeux is in Prairieville and Reid is in Gonzales. All but Faircloth attend schools in Baton Rouge.

Lafayette/Acadiana Region National Merit Scholarships:

William W. Brien, Ascension Episcopal School; Dylan C. Davis, Southside High.

For more education related information, click here.

 

 

Arlen Benny Cenac Jr. Foundation Funds Vandebilt Scholarship

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.

For more information on the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, click here.  For more information on Benny Cenac’s philanthropy work, click here.

Benny Cenac Jr Provides Scholarship

Benny Cenac Jr, Houma Philanthropist, recently made  a donation that will make the 2017-2018 school year at Vandebilt Catholic High the first of many for the Arlen “Benny” Cenac, Jr. Sacred Heart Scholarship Fund. 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 their 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. Benny Cenac Jr,  Houma Philanthropist and CEO of Cenac Marine Services, has long been a supporter of local education.  He believes investing in the education now, means a brighter future for our area in the future.

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.

With this generous contribution, students are already being rewarded with the ability to receive or continue receiving their Catholic High School education. Tears of joy along with heartfelt thank you cards have been received by the foundation from the families of these young men and women. For one reason or another, these households are unable to afford to send their children to Vandebilt Catholic High but through Mr. Cenac’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 Benny Cenac Jr, Houma Businessman and supporter of local education efforts.

Fr. Andre Coindre

Father Andre Coindre, founder of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, 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.

In January of 1847 at the request of Bishop Portier, five missionary Brothers of the Sacred Heart arrived in Mobile, Alabama, to begin charitable and educational work. With a presence in the United States, the congregation began its transformation into a worldwide institute, spreading throughout North America in the South, New York and New England areas and into Canada.

The Brothers live by their Sacred Rule of Life #13:  To be a member of the institute today is to be believe in God’s love, to live it, and to spread it. It is to contribute as religious educators to the evangelization of the world particularly through the education of youth.

The Brothers of the Heart of Jesus will also frequently remember these words of Jesus Christ: “I have come to bring fire to the earth. How I wish it were blazing already.”

For more information on the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, click here.  For more information on Benny Cenac Jr, Houma Philanthropist, and his work, click here.