Gala Raises $1.2 Million for Inner-City Scholarship Fund

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Amaya Rojas is thankful the Inner-City Scholarship has given her the opportunity to take a step toward achieving her goal.

The seventh-grader at Santa Maria School in the Bronx shared her story with the more than 400 guests who raised $1.2 million at the 43rd annual Inner-City Scholarship Fund Friends Gala at the Cipriani 42nd Street in Manhattan May 21.

“This program has given me the opportunity to be able to take the first steps to achieve my dreams,” said Ms. Rojas in her gala speech. “My dreams when I was younger were a little imaginative to say the least—I was sure I was going to be a unicorn or working with unicorns.

“Now that I am older, my hopes and dreams have become more realistic. My goal now is to help people. I hope to grow up to become a doctor or a teacher, to spread my own knowledge to other people, and to be in a position where I can share the wisdom and support that I have been given with others.”

Ms. Rojas mentioned the impact of her Catholic school education, and how her teachers used creative teaching methods to educate and guide her.

“I love going to Santa Maria because I am very passionate about learning everything I can, and I know my school is helping me achieve my full potential and reach my dreams for the future,” Ms. Rojas said.

“Without Inner-City, I would not have had the opportunity to become the confident, compassionate and dedicated person that I am. This program has helped both me and my family. My mom is an amazing woman and I love her with all my heart. She chose to put me into a Catholic school, so I can have access to many opportunities and so that God can be in my life all the time.”

Founded in 1971 by Cardinal Terence Cooke and a group of executives from many religious backgrounds, the Inner-City Scholarship Fund assists some 8,000 Catholic school students each year in the archdiocese by providing more than $13 million in tuition assistance. Ninety-nine percent of the seniors attending inner-city Catholic high schools graduate, and 98 percent pursue a college education.

This year’s gala included a “Sky is the Limit” performance by students from St. Raymond Elementary School, the Bronx; Notre Dame School, Manhattan; and Mount St. Michael Academy, the Bronx.

“As the school year comes to a close, we are constantly reminded of the importance of a quality education,” said Susan George, executive director of the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, in a statement.

“I’m amazed by the generosity of the people in this room, especially (gala chairs) Margaret Crotty and Rory Riggs, who are so dedicated to supporting Catholic education for future generations.”

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