Scholarship Essays

St. Joseph Scholarship for Boys 2015 Winner:
Alexander Regan, Ontario, Canada (age 14)

As my first year of high school approaches, my parents and I have been searching for curriculum that will help me get the qualifications I need, and even go beyond the requirements, in order for me to pursue my goal of becoming an astronaut.

Our initial searches left me feeling a little nervous about how I was going to fit in all the subjects and volunteerism I need in order to be prepared for my future career, hopefully with NASA. There are so many curriculum choices available to homeschoolers and it was difficult to decide which program to follow, as none of them seemed to fit all my needs.

We have browsed through the Guide and were very excited to realize that High School of Your Dreams will help me to plan my entire high school career from ninth grade all the way through to twelfth. This is a tool which will be quite invaluable to me as a student with a neuro-cognitive disorder, as I am more at ease when my plan is scheduled in detail and my days are fairly structured, and we believe this Guide is the answer. On top of that, I am now feeling so much more confident that I will be able to pursue all the areas of study that are of interest to me, helping me grow into a more well-rounded person.

And now that a new version of this program is coming out, it will be even better. I plan to use this for all my schooling and planning.

Being an astronaut requires that I finish university with degrees in a few different areas in order to have a better chance of being selected by NASA. For instance, if I wanted to pilot a spacecraft I would need a pilot’s license as well as experience and education in engineering. High School of Your Dreams will help me to plan my courses accordingly as well as learn how to structure my days and plan ahead in order to be well-prepared for post-secondary education and eventually, God willing, a career with NASA.

My hope is that using High School of Your Dreams will propel me into the Career of My Dreams.

On a personal note, I would like to encourage all those who are considering a career that might seem unattainable at this moment in our young lives. I have read over and over again about young people who kept going strong even amidst difficulties, they overcame, no matter whether the difficulties were financial or their environment or otherwise. The message is always the same, don’t let anyone stop you from attaining your goals, don’t quit, never give up. It all starts with a good foundation, good preparation, confidence in yourself, and last but not least, a life centred around the Word of God. I believe High School of Your Dreams fulfills all these needs.

It looks great so far, and I thank you so much for sharing this amazing opportunity with homeschooled students everywhere!

 

 

St. Therese Scholarship for Girls 2015 Winner:
Angelina Cercone, New York (age 13)

The minute I looked at this book, I was dismayed. It was so huge! As I started reading through it though, the two hundred and fifty one pages of astonishment became two hundred and fifty one pages of promise and hope. The trueness of it all was so clear. I could not believe it. It looked like I had found my perfect track for my High School education. When the book High School of Your Dreams stated that "methods of study are tailored to the track that best fits the student's goals,” and then stated that if you exert "a full hour of effort for each hour of credit," you have a "legitimate right to credits earned" (pages 6 & 7, 2013 edition). In other words, effort counts! I was all in for it!

The High School of Your Dreams program is a perfect fit for me. I can work my schoolwork around babysitting my three year old twin sisters and doing the many chores around the house. This all feels too good to be true!

Right now, I am not entirely sure what career path I want to follow, sometimes it's a chef, other days it's a seamstress, or a singer, or flutist, or even a florist. My ambitions are unclear. However, I believe that through the diversity and the flexibility of this program and in learning each mandatory subject and elective, such as, art, home economics, and music, my path will emerge over time. I truly believe that through my Catholic Heritage Curricula education and putting forth my best effort academically, I will find the right vocational path for me.

My college goal is to go to a local Community College or University depending on God's path for me. To achieve this goal, it will require that I have a strong faith in God, along with putting forth my best efforts academically and having the flexibility and time to pursue where God is leading me. The High School of Your Dreams program is the framework by which this all occurs.

To conclude, Catholic Heritage Curricula’s High School of Your Dreams program is the framework by which I can develop my gifts and talents to become who God wants me to be. It will act as a stepping stone to prepare me for the years to come, in college and beyond, along with my career goals and ambitions. Not to mention, it will also strengthen my faith in God, and it will make me a better student by pursuing God's will. Not only will it prepare me for future events, but it will help me in the here and now, by making me a better daughter and sister. I believe that Jeremiah 29:11 perfectly summarizes the purpose of this program, when it says, "for I know well the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare and not for your woe, so as to give you a future of hope."

Thank you, Catholic Heritage Curricula!

 


 

St. Joseph Scholarship for Boys 2014 Winner:
Dominick I. Leonelli, New Jersey (age 14)

When the High School of Your Dreams book first arrived I was eager to open it up. Once I had unpackaged and started reading the book I was overwhelmed by the size and the fact the introduction said to read the book cover to cover. As I started skimming through the pages I realized the necessity of the author’s suggestion to properly build the high school of my dreams. I had heard High School of Your Dreams is a curriculum builder that is supposed to customize your high school experience to make it enjoyable and challenging. I had not expected there to be as many options and was truly surprised by the amount of choices. This is a perfect fit for me because my high school has to be flexible and portable.

I’m still not exactly sure which path I am being called toward so my high school needs to be flexible. I enjoy math and art and am considering the field of architecture. However, college is still four years away so my curriculum needs to be adaptable for a variety of different career options. I want to be covered if I do change my mind and decide to pursue something other than architecture. Not only do I need high school to be flexible career wise, I need it also to conform to my schedule. I really like the flexible schedule that homeschooling has offered my family. I like taking advantage of unique field trips especially last minute opportunities. One of the best things about homeschooling, in my opinion, is the ability to completely finish school in about four hours, all in the comfort of my home, as opposed to a public school which is about six hours of school and a couple hours of homework afterward. Just because something is flexible does not mean it is always portable.

My high school requires the curriculum to be portable. My dad is an active duty Air Force officer and we move on average about every two years. I could potentially live in three different states before I graduate high school so convenience is important. Because High School of Your Dreams is customizable we can make it fit our family duties in the Air Force. If my dad had a position come available mid-school year, we could relocate together as a family and not separate. In addition, I will not need to worry about being behind in any of my subjects because my school comes with me wherever I go.

I am preparing myself for collegiate studies through a diverse academic curriculum to include homeschooling and outsourced classes and a wide variety of text books. With all of the options I have access to for learning I feel will be equipping myself for college to the best of my abilities. I know my high school years will be very challenging, however I am very excited to start my high school experience using High School of Your Dreams.

 

 

 

St. Therese Scholarship for Girls 2014 Winner:
Josepha Clare Rose Strahota, Arizona (age 13)

"The High School of My Dreams...Finally!"

I feel very blessed that my parents chose to educate me at home. Faith is important to our family. My mom and dad have worked hard to provide for my education while leaving time in our schedule for prayer and ministering in the church. When I was preparing for my high school years and I saw the list of subjects that I would have to study, I was a little concerned that maybe prayer and ministry would have to take a back seat to my studies.

Those fears soon left when I read through High School of Your Dreams with my parents. This book has given us lots of ideas on how I can make my faith a central part of my studies. I am glad to learn that daily Mass, serving as a sacristan and the other volunteer work I do at my parish can all somehow be incorporated into my high school curriculum.

Our family loves books, both my parents passed their love of reading onto us. They’re very careful about which books they let us read. So we were all very happy that each subject has a list of books, articles, and websites that I can use to gather information. I would especially like to use the lives of the saints in my research wherever I can.

On a regular basis I volunteer taking care of the plants on the grounds at my parish. This has led to an interest in botany. At home, I wouldn’t be able to participate in a botany lab, and I don’t even think they offer one at the schools in our area. But the section on Botany gave me the idea of doing my own research by planting a garden. So that I can use my own experience for lab work in that subject, my parents have given me permission to plant a vegetable garden in our back yard. I can even use our digital camera to make a portfolio to show my work.

Most importantly, I believe the Lord is calling me to religious life. I spend extra time in prayer and spiritual reading in order to discern my vocation. So I was very excited to see that there was a section in the book about vocations. Where could I take a class about vocations at my local high school? Nowhere. But this book has given me some good ideas about how I can put all of my study in this area to additional good use. Since I already visit the local Poor Clare’s monastery regularly, there would be some opportunities there to do more research, which would also help my discernment.

Nothing is more important to me than my relationship with Jesus. Being homeschooled helped me to have that relationship, it wouldn’t be the same if I were attending a traditional school. Before reading High School of Your Dreams I was beginning to worry that maybe the added subjects and responsibilities would make it harder to keep that relationship strong. With the many ideas presented in this book, high school is something that I can look forward to again.

 

 

Educating for Eternity Scholarship 2014 Winner:
Heather L. Nelson, California

My family has been a CHC family from the very beginning of our homeschooling journey, over 12 years ago. My oldest daughter, KristenMary, is a 2013 CHC homeschool graduate. Presently, she is thriving at John Paul Catholic University in San Diego, CA and credits her success to her years of learning at home. I share that credit with CHC. While it was I who was doing the teaching, it was CHC’s resources that made it possible, and their support that gave me strength.

Through the many years, CHC has treated my family like their family. They have taken time out of their own personal lives to assist me with mine. Whenever I have had a question or concern, CHC has been the most trusted “family member” to turn to. CHC has enabled me to fulfill, not only my dream of teaching my children at home, but also the dream of my children to learn at their mother's side.

KristenMary has gone on to receive multiple scholarships, enabling her to pay for her college education at a fabulous, private, Catholic university. She has also received scholarship offers from other prestigious Catholic universities throughout the United States. She has chosen to attend JP Catholic, not just for what it has to offer, but because it is the one that is closest to home. One of the many important lessons that KristenMary has learned being homeschooled is that family unity is vital. She knows that her presence is important to her siblings, especially as they follow along her path. She has a very close relationship with each of her siblings, as well as with her dad and myself. We are blessed to have her close by, but I know that she would have been successful wherever she ended up.

While KristenMary’s homeschool adventure concluded with her acceptance into college, one of the most stressful times of my homeschooling journey was the anxiety over whether her homeschooling would be enough to allow her to get into college. I prayed to Our Lady for faith that the education KristenMary was receiving at my side was sufficient. In addition to prayer, I researched and researched all the rules and regulations for homeschooing through high school. It was at this time that I turned to CHC, my most beloved resource, and begged for assistance! The High School of Your Dreams book soon became my official guidebook, taking me through each remaining step of KristenMary’s schooling. In addition to following the path for students planning to go on to college, I personally contacted Nancy Nicholson with a mother’s plea. In true CHC nature, I quickly received a response. In reading her emails, I envisioned sitting over tea with Nancy, discussing my daughter’s future. Her assistance, coupled with my commitment to follow her every recommendation, enabled KristenMary to graduate from high school and move on to college with ease. Specifically, High School of Your Dreams allowed KristenMary and I to fill in her own personalized high school curriculum.

KristenMary has always had a passion for theology and a great talent for writing. Her weaknesses were math and science. Taking her passions, talents, and weaknesses into consideration, we tailored her high school to include and avoid courses accordingly. As a homeschool mom/teacher, I was able to use my discretion with mastery of subjects, allowing KristenMary to prove her mastery through writing essays and reports, rather than filling in blanks or bubbles on a test. High School of Your Dreams gave me the confidence to tailor her grades accordingly. I never felt that I was cheating her out of a standard education by not forcing her to take standardized tests. I firmly believed that she was demonstrating her knowledge in her own personalized way. High School of Your Dreams introduced me to the idea of looking for alternative methods of measuring knowledge and how to properly document said measurements.

Thanks to the guidance of Nancy Nicholson, Catholic Heritage Curricula, and Catholic Heritage Curricula’s High School of Your Dreams, I can personally attest to the fact that a homeschool student can successfully apply to, get accepted into, and thrive at university. At the time of this writing, KristenMary has gone on to complete her first year at JP Catholic, finishing in the top of her class for the year. When I asked how she was able to adjust to having so many different teachers presenting information in so many different ways, her answer was simple: “High School of Your Dreams”. KristenMary has been able to adjust to each professor’s unique teaching style because High School of Your Dreams allowed her to find out how to adapt her own learning styles to the subject matter being taught. This lesson is invaluable.

I have thoroughly enjoyed schooling KristenMary and I am excited to have several years remaining to continue schooling my other children. My CHC family is in my prayers every day as I offer thanksgiving to Our Lord for His many blessings, and in the corners of my smiles every time I witness the success of my children.

 


 

St. Therese Scholarship for Girls 2013 Winner:
Lauren Stephens, Kansas (age 13)

 

When I first opened the book High School of Your Dreams, I was very excited to learn that there is an option that is unique from all other curriculums! I sat down with my Dad and opened the first pages to read together. We were impressed with its flexibility. What we read in High School of Your Dreams showed us a different perspective on how I could plan my high school years. It does not require students to sit at a desk all day learning predetermined subjects with workbooks and texts already chosen for them. These may not help the student in reaching his or her vocation. High School of Your Dreams actually encourages the student to seek to hear God’s calling in two ways. First, it encourages spending time in prayer with parents planning their yearly coursework together. Secondly, it makes great use of all educational materials and community resources available to actually experience it. What we read showed that the student is able to tailor their subjects to actually help meet very specific personal goals. They make it sound fun!

I got excited to think that I could, for example, plan experience based coursework to allow me to shadow my local veterinarian to learn about that career. I could then plan the very books I would use to study more on animal biology and science that will help me reach a goal to enter vet school. I am also very interested in the training of dogs, and can use my class time to join the local Kennel Club to practice obedience and agility training with my dogs. Simply keeping track of my new puppy’s height, weight, and daily medical needs can be used [towards fulfilling] an agricultural science credit. At the same time, I could also schedule time for daily prayers, Mass, or charitable service that could also lead me toward hearing God’s plan for a possible future religious vocation. Which, when compared to public school, lets me live my Catholic Faith. With High School of Your Dreams I can shape my curriculum to fit ME, not use a one-size-fits-all plan. It gives me and my parents a whole new option to plan my high school.

My Dad and Mom are very impressed with the "thinking outside of the box" mentality of High School of Your Dreams when compared to the many other programs they have researched for me. They became very encouraged and quite excited to start planning the path towards my diploma together! My parents have always discussed with me the importance of my high school transcript when preparing for college yet at the same time have showed me how to be open to a religious vocation call. We found answers to each of their concerns regarding the transcript and how to prepare it to meet the requirements of any college I may want to apply. With the encouragement and reassurance on every page that High School of Your Dreams can work and will be successful and ENJOYABLE too, my parents and I are already tracking my path through high school with JOY!!

 

Educating for Eternity Scholarship 2013 Winner:
Shonna Fletcher, Oklahoma

Pulling our children from public school was a difficult and much debated decision.  However, after much prayer, we decided it would be in the best interest for our kids, our family, and our faith life as a whole.

Our first year consisted of a great deal of whining from our eleven-year-old daughter and skepticism from our fifteen-year-old son.  Combine that with my fear of ruining the educational future of our children and hubby’s teeth grinding over the children’s poor study habits (or lack thereof), and our family was suddenly a volatile time bomb ticking synchronously with the baby’s cries. 

We survived that first year by sheer trial and error.  We tried this curriculum and that curriculum.  We found errors in our approach and even errors in some of the textbooks!  Finally, we adopted a more Charlotte Mason type of approach, which suited our children and the lifestyle for which we longed.

By the beginning of year two we had discovered learning styles: our daughter was an excelled student but suffered poor reading comprehension. We felt we had time to work extra hard and correct that through narration and living books.  Our son, however, was going to be a junior, and time was short.  We had already spent the year re-learning algebra, which he had failed in public school despite the many early mornings of their version of tutoring.  His dreams of attending WestPoint were essentially dashed along with his academic confidence.  We needed something that would help guide us through this maze of requirements that would also allow him to find his strengths and work toward them – and in such a short amount of time!

Enter High School of Your Dreams (cue angelic chorus).  We sat down to explore the book – individually at first.  After we had each spent about a week getting familiar with it, we sat together on the couch with a stack of sticky tags to mark subjects of interest.  We were both amazed at the variety!  I distinctly remember my son asking, “Mom, is this legal?  Will it really count?”  It looked too good to be true; so, I actually checked!  He picked enough subjects to get him through both his junior and senior year.  Not wishing to become overwhelmed, however, we decided to be cautious and only pick one class:  astronomy.

High School of Your Dreams contains fabulous resources (many of them are free and are great supplements for other subjects as we have learned) and provides a great jumping-off point when it comes to homework ideas.  It allowed us the freedom to go our own pace, explore as much hands on as possible and not be tied to a dry textbook.  We were finally breaking through that public school state of mind that had kept us prisoner to a schedule that was not working and classes to which our kids did not relate.  We used our local library, the internet, and only a few other materials to successfully complete the course.

Most importantly, my son’s faith was fed the entire time!  Learning through the eyes of the Church according to our Catholic belief system was more than a bonus.  It was thought-provoking in a whole new light.  Not only was he thinking about the planets and stars but how they were wonderfully created.  He discovered evidence of the Church’s involvement in scientific endeavors which were never brought to light in any of his public school settings.  He actually ‘felt’ a connection to what he learned. This also spawned many interesting family conversations – all started by him!  Given this success, it should be no wonder that he has chosen to study vocations and theology this fall. 

This very day, our son has presented us with an initial plan.  He has determined himself to major in history and possibly add a second major along the way.  While a college has not officially been decided, he is looking quite seriously at St. Gregory’s in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  He wants to stay fairly close to home due to economics.  (I like to think it has less to do with laundry and food and more to do with missing us, though.)

As we prepare to embark on his senior year, I not only feel confident in his abilities, but I also feel confident that we are sending a secure Catholic into the world.  I have a better understanding of what it means to educate for an eternity, and can hardly wait to experience this again with our remaining children.  Our daughter, who is beginning eighth grade, has already marked several subjects of interest.  Our youngest will begin his preschool program this year and can look forward to sharing the same successes as his siblings.

 


 

2012 Scholarship Essay
by Maria T., California

My high school years have been a wonderful adventure—indeed, a real “high school of my dreams”!

I attended public high school in my freshman year, just to give it a try and see if I was missing anything (I wasn’t!). Up to that point, I’d been homeschooled from Kindergarten through 8th grade using Catholic Heritage Curricula. After getting a taste of public school, I chose to return to homeschooling for the rest of high school so that I could spend more time studying the subjects which interested me, among other reasons.

In the next three years, I found High School of Your Dreams to be a fantastic resource for fashioning a personalized course of study which reflected my interests and goals. It gave me a thrill to flip through the book and see all the options that were available to me! I was interested in so many different things that I had difficulty choosing which subjects to take each year, but High School of Your Dreams helped me by clearly laying out the course requirements for the college-bound student.

At first I honestly did not know if I wanted to go to college, but I felt that it was a good idea to keep all my options open so that I would be well-prepared for whatever vocation God was calling me to. Once I had filled out one of the course schedules provided in High School of Your Dreams with the necessary subjects, I was able to get an idea of the number of electives I could take each year. I took it a step at a time, choosing the electives I wanted to take in the upcoming year and leaving the following years to be decided as my interests developed.

My sophomore year of homeschool went so much better than my freshman year in public school! By designing my own coursework, and not being obligated to spend valuable time reporting to a third party, I had time for a great variety of volunteer opportunities. For example, training therapy dogs, singing in the Latin Mass choir, and teaching in our parish religious ed program. My older sister also used High School of Your Dreams, and being interested in becoming a veterinarian, she was able to shadow a veterinary technician at our neighborhood veterinary! I also discovered that I had a real talent for computer work and eventually built websites from scratch for two non-profit organizations. These experiences were so valuable, enabling me to explore different career possibilities in a hands-on manner. High School of Your Dreams gave me opportunities that I wouldn’t have had using a “one size fits all” program.

My junior year was very eventful. I began to feel certain that I wanted to attend college, and I adjusted my course plan accordingly. I took the PSAT test in the fall. I had no difficulty finding a place to take it as all the public schools in my area were willing to let me register to take the test at the same time as the public school students. It was merely a matter of making a phone call and then stopping by the school to pick up my test prep packet. Several months later I learned that I had earned an excellent score, 219 (out of 240 possible), and that I was in the 99th percentile.

I wanted to obtain similar or better scores in the more difficult SAT test which I planned to take in the spring, so I took CHC's SAT Prep course by Sandra Garant and integrated study for the test into my school schedule. I practiced writing the SAT essay, developed my vocabulary, and improved my critical reading skills as a part of my English coursework. I was well prepared for the test, and received a score of 2290 (out of 2400), an even better score than I earned on the PSAT.

Also in my junior year, I decided to take some classes at the local junior college. I didn't have a clue as to how to apply, but I followed the college's online directions for high school students, filled out some paperwork, and easily got into an art class and a piano class. The next semester, I was able to get into an advanced biology class which focused on human anatomy, particularly the diseases affecting the body. I’ll never forget the look on my professor’s face when he learned I was only a junior in high school and held the top grade in the class! It was an amazing class, and it confirmed my long-considered desire to enter the medical profession.

I’m a senior now and so far I’ve taken two SAT Subject Tests, Literature and Math II. I earned a perfect score in the Literature Test, and a 660 (out of 800) in the Mathematics Level 2 Test. I had no difficulty taking these at my local public high school. I’ve spent time this year working on college applications and scholarship applications. Before I applied to colleges this fall I prepared my transcript, following the guidelines laid out in High School of Your Dreams. I had the difficult decision of which colleges to apply to, but in the end I decided on these four: the University of Dallas, the Catholic University of America, Franciscan U. of Steubenville, and the University of the Pacific (a private secular college). I was happy to find that they all used the Common Application, which made the application process much simpler.

I’m writing this in late February, and so far all the colleges I applied to have sent acceptance letters (and scholarship offers!). To those who ask if I was hampered in any way by not using an accredited home study program or attending a traditional ‘brick and mortar’ school, I can reply with a resounding, “Not in the least!” Rather, I’m “ready to roll” and in just a few months I’ll be well on my way to the college of my choice, pursuing my dream of becoming a general practitioner.

My sincere thanks goes to CHC and High School of Your Dreams for providing me with a love for learning and an excellent academic foundation for the years ahead!

 

High School of Your Dreams Essay
by Pati Goldin, North Carolina

My oldest and I read High School of Your Dreams in his eighth grade and it greatly assisted in making his high school selection. He had an early interest in company stocks and realized the best way to pursue his passion was to remain home schooled. He also decided the best place for him to study finance in college was our state's flagship university which has a top ten business school. I then researched and made sure that his high school curriculum fulfilled the requirements for admission there.

In addition to a demanding but standard high school course of study, he had the flexibility to study business subjects such as economics, accounting, marketing, and management as well as lots of finance. He wrote articles for online finance journals and had a financial internship with the investment department of a large local company. As part of his study he even developed a suite of stock indices of the top public companies residing in our state. This research led to a profile in a newspaper and an online finance publication as well as some collaboration with a public-private consortia and state agencies.

He also took the PSAT and received a National Merit Commendation for his score. His SAT scores placed in the 50% for Ivy League applicants who were selected for admission and so we decided that he would apply to a couple Ivy League schools as well. With one community college course, three AP courses for which he self-studied, but many other courses on his transcript, he was waitlisted at two Ivy League Schools and accepted at our state's flagship university where he will start next month.

As importantly, he feels that he has had the best education for him. Homeschooling has allowed him to challenge himself academically and really pursue his intellectual passions as well as remain very close to his faith and family. He has thanked me and now I thank you, CHC.