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A Mount St. Mary Academy senior was recently honored as one of only 25 recipients of the College Board’s $40,000 Complete Your Journey scholarship. Elena DePaolo of North Tonawanda was surprised with this announcement through a video call recently, while in the midst of remote learning at home.

More than 500,000 students from all 50 states joined the College Board Opportunity Scholarships program since it launched in December 2018. In addition to the 25 $40,000 Complete Your Journey winners, nearly 4,000 students from 48 states, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, earned $3.6 million in smaller scholarships, ranging from $500 to $2,000. Research shows that completing specific steps helps clarify the complex college planning process, especially for low-income and first-generation students.

Elena is most deserving of this award as she has consistently challenged herself academically, taking AP and college level courses throughout her high school career. Aside from academics, Elena has been an active participant in athletics and in her service to others. She has played JV and Varsity Volleyball throughout high school, even assisting with our volleyball camps over the summer. She is also a member of our Service Club, Donate Life Club and Model UN. Elena’s service has included volunteering at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy working with their toy drive, food pantry and blanket making drive. She is also a valued member of St. Edmund’s Parish Outreach where she collected and donated household goods for families in Nicaragua. Elena understands the importance of teamwork and encourages others, something that extends beyond the classroom and into her community. She will be an active and engaged participant both inside and outside of the classroom in college.

When Elena has a goal in mind, she works hard to make sure it becomes a reality. Elena will embrace and contribute to the learning environment at her college while also absorbing all she can through the classes and opportunities afforded to her. She is never afraid to challenge herself and always takes that extra step to further her co-curricular or educational path and this scholarship will certainly assist her in this process.

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