Bishop Luers High School student awarded Pay It Forward Scholarship to USF

December 12, 2019

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Maria Solis of Bishop Luers High School has been named the recipient of the 2019 University of Saint Francis Pay It Forward Scholarship.

The full-tuition scholarship to USF has a value of more than $120,000 and is awarded annually by the university to an incoming student who represents going above and beyond to serve others and “pay it forward.” Maria was selected after submitting an essay, reaching the finalists stage and being profiled in a feature video by WANE-TV.

Maria was awarded the scholarship after Mass on Thursday at Bishop Luers. USF President Sister M. Elise Kriss, OSF, presented the award along with WANE’s Terra Brantley.

The other finalists, Madison Schoeneman of Adams Central High School and Madison Smith of Edgerton (Ohio) High School, will receive half-tuition scholarships. More than 180 applicants submitted essays.

Maria wrote in her essay about her desire to pay it forward with many volunteer hours at Community Harvest Food Bank, serving at a charitable organization that helped her family many years ago. She plans to study nursing at USF.

“I come from a Catholic family and my parents always taught us to give because greater is the reward in heaven,” Maria wrote. “As a Catholic, service is a way to show Christ’s face unto those who perhaps do not know Him, so they get a glimpse of his love. Service is the greatest thing human beings can do to help and love each other!”

Founded in 1890 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition, the University of Saint Francis offers more than 70 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs through the School of Health Sciences, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership and School of Creative Arts. In addition to its traditional programs, USF designs focused curricula for working adults in Fort Wayne, Crown Point and online. USF Downtown houses the university’s business and music technology programs while offering enhanced internship and networking opportunities for students. The University of Saint Francis campus experience includes 16 athletic programs boasting two individual and four team NAIA national championships and is recognized as an NAIA Five-Star Champion of Character institution. Approximately 2,200 students from a broad geographic region attend USF.