Anna Bushlack cherishes the conversations she has with her children around the dinner table. Increasingly, the discussions often are focused on faith topics they’re learning about at St. Margaret of Scotland School.
“Some of it has come from their religion teachers, and some of it comes from the preaching of our priest, either during the week or on the weekends,” she said. “It’s been really amazing to watch them grow into their own people, who are also being shaped by the faith and being shaped by the school and their teachers.”
The three Bushlack children are among more than 5,500 students receiving scholarships through the Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation during the 2022-23 school year. The foundation provides need-based scholarships to students attending private and parochial schools throughout the Archdiocese of St. Louis. It is supported the by Annual Catholic Appeal, as well as individual and corporate donors, grants and funding from other local foundations.
When the Bushlack family was preparing to move to St. Louis from Minnesota in 2016, they were interested in making the switch from public school to Catholic school and were looking for ways to make that financially feasible. Anna Bushlack’s brother and sister-in-law, whose children also attend St. Margaret of Scotland School, clued them in to the Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation.
“They said, go through this application process — there really is assistance out there for people who need it,” Bushlack said.
The Bushlack children were able to start at St. Margaret that year, just in time for the oldest, Sean, to prepare for first Communion and first reconciliation with his second-grade class. And in the following years, the Catholic education they receive has helped complement the faith that Anna and her husband work to instill in them at home, she said.
“It’s been really great to watch each one of them engage in not just their sacramental prep, but their religion classes, and learning more about the parts of the Mass from their teachers, and not just from me and my husband trying to whisper it to them on Sundays,” Bushlack said.
Bushlack has also been impressed by the community that is cultivated at St. Margaret, she said, through things like “buddy” pairings of eighth-graders and kindergarteners. “There is I think a much more intentional approach to community than they might get at a public school,” she said.
Sean, now in eighth grade, and Audrey, a sixth-grader, both get excited when they talk about their religion classes with middle school religion teacher Brian Schmidt. “We learn a lot about our faith, and he’s just really good at explaining things and introducing new concepts,” Sean said.
“Things I had completely not understood before just seem really easy to comprehend now,” Audrey said. “… This year he’s basically been telling us the whole entire story of the Old Testament.”
Sean also enjoys serving as an altar server at both school and Sunday Masses. “That’s been a really big part of my life for the past couple years,” he said.
Third-grader Frankie likes the way her teacher helps them learn about different saints through short videos at the end of each day — a recent one was St. Teresa of Calcutta, she said.
“My teacher really likes God, and she talks about it a lot,” Frankie said.
>> Apply for scholarships
The Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation, with its partners, the Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri, the Annual Catholic Appeal, the Office of Catholic Education and Formation and others, offers more than $8 million in scholarships and financial aid to families each year. The scholarship application window for the 2023-24 school year opened Jan. 17. Families may apply for scholarships to attend any elementary school in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, any Catholic high school and any private elementary school in the City of St. Louis.
Families have the opportunity to apply for scholarship assistance through a unified online application, which is used for all scholarships funded by The Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation and its partners, excluding MOScholars. Online applications are available at www.ttef-stl.org. The deadline for some scholarships is Tuesday, Feb. 28.
The Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation (TTEF) has been selected by the Missouri State Treasurer’s Office as an educational assistance organization charged with administering MOScholars awards in eastern Missouri. TTEF will raise funds through 100% tax credit contributions and in return, grant designated scholarship awards of $6,375 to eligible students residing in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County or Jefferson County. Student applicants may be either income-eligible or have an established IEP/ISP. Applications for the 2023-24 academic year open February 1.
To donate, apply for scholarships or learn more about the program, visit www.ttef-stl.org/moscholars.