By Rose O’Connor | Correspondent
For Trenton Catholic Academy senior Angie Labissiere, attending The Catholic University of America, Washington, and receiving the Most Reverend David M. O’Connell Service Scholarship is a dream come true.
“I truly feel privileged to be chosen as the winner of the Bishop O’Connell Service Scholarship. Being able to attend college is a dream that I’ve always longed for,” the Hamilton school student said.
“The fact that this scholarship is solely based on service means so much to me because service is a major part of my life. I owe all my blessings to the different service projects I have been a part of; they all played a huge part in breaking me out of my comfort zone and shaping me into the person I am today.”
The scholarship is a full-tuition, annually renewable, four-year scholarship. The prestigious award is offered to one student from the Diocese of Trenton who has shown a commitment to service to their school, parish and community.
The scholarship honors Bishop O’Connell’s 12-year tenure as president of CUA, a post he held from 1998 to 2010. He was appointed coadjutor bishop of the Trenton Diocese by Pope Benedict XVI in June, 2010, then was named bishop of the Diocese in December, 2010.
CUA inaugurated the Service Scholarship in 2011 to an entering freshman from the Diocese who embodies Bishop O’Connell’s dedication to service. As a Vincentian priest, the Bishop has devoted his life’s vocation to serving others, and selected as his episcopal motto – “Ministrare non ministrari,” meaning “to serve and not to be served.”
Labissiere is a member of St. Mary Parish, Bordentown, along with her parents, Guerino and Yolette, and sisters, Stacey and Gayelle.
In St. Mary Parish, Labissiere serves as a catechist and has been a Vacation Bible School counselor. She has also been an altar server since the fourth grade.
Labissiere recently had the opportunity to thank Bishop O’Connell for the scholarship opportunity that bears his name when he visited TCA for a vocation awareness basketball game April 11.
Labissiere said she wanted to attend The Catholic University of America for many reasons, one of which is because she has been able explore her faith at TCA.
“The same way that being a student at a Catholic high school has made my educational experience better for me, I know it will have a positive impact on my college years as well,” she said. “The Catholic University (of America) … has everything I need to thrive. The opportunity to express my faith with others who feel as strongly as I [do] just isn’t something that I can experience at any other college.”
Labissiere, who will study political science and international relations, said she plans to pursue a career in politics. “In pursuing political sciences I know I can make an impact on the world by helping others, just as Bishop O’Connell has helped me and more,” she said.
She hopes to be able to apply her education to help the people of Haiti, her family’s homeland.
In Trenton Catholic Academy, Labissiere is active in the student council and for Masses serves as a reader and sings in the choir.
She is also a school ambassador, a peer mentor, a member of the yearbook staff, drama club and the Heritage Club, the Lady Mikes basketball team and runs track and field.
“We are very proud of Angie,” said St. Joseph Sister Dorothy Payne, TCA president. “I know she will continue to grow in her Catholic faith and serve others in profound ways. We are grateful to Bishop O’Connell for providing scholarship opportunities for the students in the Diocese of Trenton.”
As her senior year in TCA winds down with prom and graduation on the horizon, Labissiere said she is looking forward to the next chapter in her life.
“This scholarship is not only meaningful to me financially but also emotionally, as it has strengthened my belief in myself and in my goals for the future. This scholarship has opened a door for me to move forward to a new, and longed for chapter in my life,” she said.