2024 Scholarship Winner: Newman Guide College ‘Final Piece’ in Catholic Formation

This year’s winner of The Cardinal Newman Society’s $5,000 scholarship to a Newman Guide Recommended college sees faithful Catholic college education as a critical “final piece” in his lifelong Catholic formation.

“Our journey in Catholic formation mirrors the complexity of a puzzle coming together,” writes Dominic Kalpakgian of Classical Academy High School in Escondido, Calif., in his winning essay. “Each stage of our upbringing adds a vital piece to the mosaic of our faith.”

Attending a Newman Guide Recommended college means his formation will be “seamlessly integrated, forming a harmonious whole.”

Kalpakgian’s $5,000 scholarship will be applied toward his first year at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio, which has agreed to another $15,000 in scholarships over the next three years if he meets the University’s requirements.

In his winning essay, which can be read in its entirety here, Kalpakgian writes that his Newman Guide education will play a critical role in the rest of his life. “Regardless of my eventual career path—whether in medicine, business, or criminal justice—my aspiration to deepen my Catholic faith while receiving an exceptional education and fostering enduring friendships fuels my desire to enroll in a Newman Guide school.”

The topic for this year’s contest was to reflect on the following question:

This year, The Cardinal Newman Society expanded The Newman Guide to recommend faithful Catholic K-12 schools and graduate programs, as well as colleges. Explain the importance of attending a Newman Guide college as the capstone to a lifelong Catholic formation. How does it build upon a student’s prior years, and what comes next?

The Cardinal Newman Society received many outstanding essays, and runner-up entries will be shared in the coming weeks.

The annual contest is open to high school seniors in the United States who participate in The Cardinal Newman Society’s Recruit Me program and use The Newman Guide in their college search. The innovative Recruit Me program invites students to sign up to “get recruited” by Newman Guide colleges and receive information about faithful Catholic education. Rising high school seniors who wish to enter next year’s essay contest can sign up for Recruit Me online here.

Kalpakgian’s $5,000 scholarship is made possible by the generosity of Joseph and Ann Guiffre, supporters of The Cardinal Newman Society and faithful Catholic education.

“We are grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Guiffre for enabling this scholarship,” said Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. “They understand the unique value of a truly Catholic education, and they are thrilled to help a student experience all that a Newman Guide-recommended college can provide.”

Sixteen of the Newman Guide colleges have agreed to with additional $5,000 grants over three additional years, under certain conditions including full-time enrollment and academic progress.

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