Story by Christina Leslie | Correspondent
Exciting new partnerships with Georgian Court University, Lakewood, are enabling students in four Catholic high schools of the Diocese to enrich their educational portfolio.
Thanks to a guaranteed admissions program, university-level courses and financial discounts, students enrolled in St. John Vianney High School, Holmdel; Holy Cross Academy, Delran; Donovan Catholic, Toms River, and Trenton Catholic Academy, Hamilton, will enjoy the benefits of a Catholic college education even before high school graduation.
Beginning this fall, the Ocean County institute of higher learning will guarantee them admission as full-time students providing they graduate from the high school with a diploma, and meet grade point average, Scholastic Aptitude Test/American College Testing benchmarks and other requirements. This will also enable students to waive undergraduate admission application fees for GCU; be eligible for academic and partnership scholarships up to $19,000 yearly for four years, and utilize options such as personal admissions advisement, college search and financial aid workshops and scholarship awards will be made available to qualified SJVHS students.
“We often speak of transformation through Catholic education,” said GCU President Dr. Joseph R. Marbach during the June 2016, agreement signing at Holy Cross Academy. “Georgian Court can be a natural next step for them.”
Last month, St. John Vianney became the latest Catholic high school in the Diocese to partner with . SJVHS has enjoyed a pre-existing academic partnership with Lincroft’s Brookdale Community College since September 2014, known as the ECA, or “Early College Academy.” High school students who take a prescribed series of courses may graduate with both a SJVHS diploma and an associate of arts in social science from Brookdale Community College.
The new agreement with Georgian Court University, which goes into effect this fall, expands educational options for enterprising SJVHS students. With the recognition that the ECA exceeds the minimum core requirements of a high school education, students will be guaranteed admission into GCU as a full-time, matriculated student if they earn a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on their high school transcript; a minimum grade point average of 2.5 on their college transcript, and satisfy other admissions application requirements.
Those students who choose not to participate in the ECA still are eligible for guaranteed early admission and scholarships through the university’s Catholic School Initiative. The academic, merit-based scholarships are renewable for four years, provided that the student remains full-time and maintains satisfactory academic progress. In addition, students who meet the prescribed criteria will have a guaranteed, reserved place in the bachelor’s degree and master’s degree programs in Georgian Court University.
Donovan Catholic signed a similar agreement with GCU Nov. 30. At the ceremony, Dr. Edward Gere, principal of the Diocese’s only Ocean County Catholic high school, noted, “Access to faith-based education is especially important, given the time that we live in. It’s not everywhere that you can get a Catholic education from preschool through graduate school.”
The agreement between GCU and the high schools addresses not only the academic building blocks essential to form a well-educatied adult, but the spiritual ones, as well. As the only Catholic institution of higher education located within the Diocese of Trenton, Georgian Court University has a Catholic School Initiative Program in place for area Catholic high schools.
In the case of SJVHS, the high school and Georgian Court have agreed to explore other appropriate ways the institutions might collaborate, including grant funding opportunities, visiting faculty lectures, student collaboration, peer mentoring, internship and cooperative educational events.
“We share a similar mission with GCU, which includes providing an education that will promote systemic change in our world,” declared Sister of St. Joseph Dorothy Payne, president of Trenton Catholic Academy, at the Mercer County school’s Oct. 5 signing ceremony.
About 70 SJVHS students accompanied Joseph Deroba, SJVHS President, to the signing of the agreement Feb. 27 at GCU. Deroba expressed his pleasure at the partnership.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our young people and the only program of its kind in New Jersey,” he said. “It represents the epitome of what two Catholic educational institutions, working together, can accomplish for the welfare of students, families and the Church.”