While we love to celebrate long-time Arizona residents, it’s always wonderful to recognize those who have chosen to live here — individuals who’ve seen what else is out there and decided to call Arizona home. Jacqueline Kennedy, the director of recruitment for St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix, did just that. She discusses what brought her to Arizona and what she believes sets our Catholic education system apart with Colleen McCoy-Cejka on CEAs podcast, Creating Future Leaders.

What Is Unique About Catholic Education in Arizona?

Kennedy has gained experience in the Catholic education sector in both New York and California. In July of last year, she began working for St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix — the oldest Catholic High School in the state. What sets Catholic education in Arizona apart, in Kennedy’s eyes, is how obtainable it is.

Our state has systems in place to make going to a Catholic school a reachable goal for many families struggling financially. Donors who take advantage of the state’s tax credit programs, for example, make it so that students who wouldn’t usually be able to afford this type of education can receive Catholic scholarships.

Regarding the topic in California, she says, “It was a big burden for schools to be able to find financing for those families. What ends up happening is that there’s really this inequity in Catholic schools where if you can afford it, then you have access to it. And if you can’t afford it, then you don’t have access to it.”

Education Beyond the Classroom

A lack of knowledge is what prevents many people from taking advantage of Arizona’s state tax credit programs. Potential donors aren’t aware of just how simple giving can be. “Half of our job is educating people,” describes Kennedy. “Whether it’s donors on how to understand the tax credit and how they can contribute … and the other part of it is educating families on how to go through the process.”

According to Statistica, about 13.5% of Arizona’s population lived beneath the poverty line in 2019. If you want to know how you can use your tax credits to aid these families, all you need to do is reach out to CEA today. If you want your child to receive a high-quality Catholic education, know that it is possible. Kennedy says, “We partner with [STOs like CEA] to provide our families seminars and workshops around STOs so that they can really understand the process and maximize the benefits of tax credits.”

For more details, we encourage you to contact our team at Catholic Education Arizona. Our staff is ready to provide you with in-depth information on tax credits and the good that our local Catholic schools are doing.