Cynthia Scheller does everything that she can in her role as Principal of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School to ensure that every student wanting a Catholic education has the opportunity to apply for the funds to receive one. She is passionate about her community and getting people involved where they can. Scheller sat down with Colleen McCoy-Cejka, Director of Partnerships at Catholic Education Arizona (CEA), to discuss how she strives to make Catholic scholarships obtainable.

Catholic Education Is a Shared Responsibility

Scheller is open and honest with the families at her school about the responsibilities that they share. “The goal I want for my parents to understand is that we are all in Catholic education together,” she says. She advertises CEA as an option, and lets parents know that if there is an unfilled seat in a classroom, it negatively impacts their community.

She encourages parents to contribute to charitable tuition tax credits. Doing so gives a child who wants to attend a Catholic school the opportunity to apply for needed financial aid. She explains, “Whether or not you contribute as a corporate donor, or whether you contribute as an individual tax contributor, it’s important that our families know that we all do impact the enrollment of our school.”

“If we can contribute our time, our treasure, and our talent in any way to promote CEA, then we’re going to be a better school for it,” she stresses.

CEA Applications Are Encouraged

St. Thomas Aquinas is proud to recommend CEA to parents. “If you go into my business office here at St. Thomas Aquinas or at our school office counter, it’s the CEA brochure you’re going to see,” Scheller says.

More awareness surrounding child tax credits and STOs increases the number of taxpayers who take the simple step to direct tax credits toward Catholic scholarships. Additionally, awareness means that more families get to benefit from the financial assistance offered by STOs like CEA. According to the Alliance for Catholic Education, about 1 in 10 Catholic teens attends a Catholic school. Scheller states, “It’s a beautiful, joyful experience when as a principal, I can say to families that have applied and did not get financial assistance because of financial need, that there’s more money for them.”

Scheller urges all families who want to experience a Catholic Education to apply, even if they have doubts about the results. She expresses, “We encourage people to apply for CEA, just because you never know when God is going to provide.”

McCoy-Cejka affirms this, saying that CEA aims to dispel the common myth that this type of schooling is only available to families with a higher income. “Our mission at Catholic Education Arizona is to make sure that Catholic education is attainable and affordable for anyone that wants it,” she says.

For more information about St. Thomas Aquinas and Catholic scholarships, please reach out to the team at Catholic Education Arizona.