FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Maria Solis of Bishop Luers High School has been named the recipient of the 2019 University of Saint Francis Pay It Forward Scholarship.
The full-tuition scholarship to USF has a value of more than $120,000 and is awarded annually by the university to an incoming student who represents going above and beyond to serve others and “pay it forward.” Maria was selected after submitting an essay, reaching the finalists stage and being profiled in a feature video by WANE-TV.
Maria was awarded the scholarship after Mass on Thursday at Bishop Luers. USF President Sister M. Elise Kriss, OSF, presented the award along with WANE’s Terra Brantley.
The other finalists, Madison Schoeneman of Adams Central High School and Madison Smith of Edgerton (Ohio) High School, will receive half-tuition scholarships. More than 180 applicants submitted essays.
Maria wrote in her essay about her desire to pay it forward with many volunteer hours at Community Harvest Food Bank, serving at a charitable organization that helped her family many years ago. She plans to study nursing at USF.
“I come from a Catholic family and my parents always taught us to give because greater is the reward in heaven,” Maria wrote. “As a Catholic, service is a way to show Christ’s face unto those who perhaps do not know Him, so they get a glimpse of his love. Service is the greatest thing human beings can do to help and love each other!”