By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Andrew Pham and Catherine Nguyen sat nervously this morning during the assembly at the St. Helena-Incarnation School in Olney.
Both were among the 705 Catholic school eighth-graders who had taken the rigorous test to qualify for the Neumann Scholarship, but neither thought the odds were very good that they’d be among the 39 winners.
They were wrong.
In a scene that played out similarly in Catholic elementary schools across the Philadelphia archdiocese today, an official of the Connelly Foundation, which sponsors the scholarships, handed the surprised and delighted winners envelopes representing a promise of $24,600 toward their tuition for four years at an archdiocesan high school.
Pham and Nguyen both said they will attend Bishop McDevitt High School, in Wyncote.
“This will make things easier for my parents,” said Pham.
Nguyen predicted her parents would be excited when she brought them the news.
“I think my mother will jump up and down and scream,” she said.
The Neumann Scholarship program began in 1995, as part of the Connelly Foundation’s mission to support Catholic education. To date it has awarded more than 800 scholarships, totaling more than $100 million.