Congratulations to Richard Joyce, a senior, and Vanessa Bussiere, a senior at Saint Dominic Academy in Auburn, who are the recipients of the 2019 Lila Grace Sullivan Amirault Scholarships. The awards were presented by Bishop Robert P. Deeley on Friday, March 22, in Portland.
The scholarship fund, which helps Maine Catholic high school students with college tuition costs, was established in 2013 by the late Patrick Amirault, in memory of his wife. Amirault, who grew up as one of nine children in a poor family in Malden, Mass., created the fund to show his appreciation for the care and quality education he received at a Catholic school there. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be accepted at an accredited college or university and must plan to work while attending college. Each recipient will receive $4,000.
“His generosity makes it a little bit easier for you to get a college education,” the bishop told the two winners, their families, and school officials at the presentation. “We’re very grateful for Mr. Amirault, and it reminds us of the importance of that kind of generosity as we move forward through life.”
Richard hopes to attend Boston College, his “dream school” where he has been accepted and where he would like to major in business management. He is an “A” student, a member of student government and the Cheverus Key Club, team captain of the basketball and golf teams, and president of the Spanish Club.
“To me, work ethic means always giving 100% in everything I do. I pride myself in putting my best effort into everything,” said Richard. “However, if that effort is not rooted in making the world a better place and is solely rooted in personal growth, it is not a true work ethic.”
And to be sure, Richard has already made the world a better place. Despite his commitment to academics, athletic endeavors, and extracurricular activities, Richard still finds time to volunteer for Special Olympics of Maine and STRIVE, where he works with young adults with developmental disabilities, something he has done since the day he was born.
“When my sisters and I were born as triplets, my sisters were born with multiple disabilities and a rare genetic disorder that included autism, developmental delays, and other issues,” said Richard. “It’s great to have them here today and always.”
“Richard speaks of his sisters with love and affection. I doubt that he realizes how much deeper his own empathy and compassion runs compared to even the most sophisticated teens,” said Mary King, a theology teacher at Cheverus. “His emotional intelligence and humility are striking.”
“Seeing Richard leave a friend’s athletic contest with his two sisters, hand in hand with each of them, reminds you of the kindness and compassion that exists in this world,” said Kate Coddaire, the director of college advising at Cheverus.
Richard presents the best of Cheverus so well that he is the first senior student that faculty members call upon for open house panels and presentations to the Board of Trustees.
“He is well respected and adored, frankly,” said Coddaire.
Richard is an extraordinary minister of communion at school Masses and an active parishioner at St. Peter Parish in Portland.
To Richard, leading the life he does, driven by his work ethic and love of God, just makes sense.
“My work ethic is closely related to my Catholic faith and its values,” said Richard. “My parents made a lot of sacrifices for me to attend Cheverus. Therefore, I always give it my all no matter the task. It’s easy to give up when times get tough, but it’s important to always keep fighting and working for what is right and just. This is what I will always do.”
Today current Cheverus sophomore Ella Davie made a special delivery of important and desperately needed donations of personal care products to the City of Portland Family Shelter, as part of a special All Refugee Relief Project .
This community service project was facilitated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Sanford, ME congregation), in which Ella is an active member. The donations were sourced from congregations from Sanford, ME; Portsmouth, NH; Exeter, NH; Wolfboro, NH, Derry, NH, Georgetown, MA. Additionally the Sanford, ME Universalist Unitarian congregation made a donation to the collection effort.
For months prior to the delivery, Ella volunteered before weekly church services to inventory, organize, and package the donations. Today she helped to unload the donations at the shelter, and she received a tour of the shelter from Jeff Tariff, Program Manager, City of Portland-Family Shelter and Aaron Geyer, City of Portland Health & Human Services Department. On the tour she learned more about the people who receive shelter services, and the difficulties and struggles that accompany journeying to in new country to begin a new life.
The donations were plentiful and help to fulfill a critical need and included: 3,559 diapers, 141 toothbrushes, 4,098 baby wipes 43 boxes of tissues, 102 hair care products, 162 cleaning products, 529 tubes of toothpaste, 104 bottles of lotion, 3,160 feminine hygiene products, and hundreds of winter jackets, scarves, gloves and hats.
This experience was particulary meaningful for Ella following the recent presentation at Cheverus by Catholic Charities of Maine, offering an all-school storytelling retreat that afforded all students the opportunity to gather in small groups to listen to the personal reflections of Simane Ibrahim, Parivash Rohani, Nasser Rohani, and Ninette Irabaruta -- who are immigrants to the United States. This special program was part of a yearlong effort organized by our World Language Department to bring to life our the community wide summer read, Amy Bass's book One Goal.
Ella shared, “I really enjoyed the fact that I was able to hear from refugees at Cheverus. Thinking about that experience, I was given an opportunity to identify needs of local refugees in the Portland area. I was able to be a part of providing tangible items to help bring comfort to their new lives during a difficult time of transition.”
Rachael Haskell Named Winner of a 2018 Amirault Scholarship
March 16, 2018
Congratulations to senior Rachael Haskell, the recipient of the 2018 Lila Grace Sullivan Amirault Scholarship.
The scholarship fund, which helps Maine Catholic high school students with college tuition costs, was established in 2013 by the late Patrick Amirault, in memory of his wife. Amirault, who grew up as one of nine children in a poor family in Malden, Mass., created the fund to show his appreciation for the care and quality education he received at a Catholic school there. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be accepted at an accredited college or university and must plan to work while attending college. Each recipient will receive $4,500.
“I know that there were many worthy candidates and to be chosen is truly an honor,” said Rachael. “I am deeply grateful for this opportunity and the kindness behind it.”
One of seven children, Rachael, appreciates the gift of family, including her second family: a community of friends and teachers at Cheverus that has given her so much.
“You can tell that people, especially the teachers, they really care for you. They will listen to you, and they will talk with you and try to help you. And it’s also present in the students, too,” said Rachael. “That’s what it means to be a Cheverian. It means to recognize interdependence and devote yourself to bettering the world around you.”
Rachael’s time at Cheverus High School has been a transformative experience.
“Cheverus is a school that emphasizes the need to care for others, which is immensely important in the formation of education in understanding its greater purpose,” said Rachael. “Cheverus has been a welcoming community, and they have taught me through love and patience and showed me that my purpose in this world is inherently connected to the people around me.”
Something that Rachael, even as a senior in high school, has already accomplished. She has donated her time to countless local charities and community initiatives. Cheverus has created in her a “desire for justice,” especially for those who are suffering. In the summer before her senior year, she went on an immersion trip to the southern border of the United States.
“The stories told in the news became more than stories. They were people with faces, personalities, and dignity,” said Rachael. “We heard stories from real immigrants about crossing over and being detained. We went to the court and heard the trials of caught migrants. We traveled through the desert in scorching Arizona temperatures, experiencing a small portion of the paths of migrants. I saw the suffering of the world not as something distant that had nothing to do with me but as a personal offense, like it was my own dignity that was being wounded.”
Still considering several outstanding colleges, she plans to study psychology with aspirations to become a child therapist.
“It took me a while to process that being a Catholic didn’t mean you had to be physically going out and saving people. You just have to be using the gifts that God gave you to try to make the world a better place. I am particularly interested in practicing therapy, especially in working with children. I have always enjoyed working with children, and I have always had an ability to read and write,” said Rachael, who also plans to minor in English or creative writing. “I enjoy analyzing and creating characters, and I believe that these traits can be used practically to better society as best as I am able. I hope to utilize my major and my minor to produce a result that best suits my interests and the community's interests by being a steward of the gifts that I have been given.”
Rachael is a member of the National Honor Society; has a gift for performing (she’s a member of the Cheverus Drama Society); and is driven by her faith.
“I’ve always wanted to do something to help people because that is something really taught in Catholicism. You’re interdependent with everyone else, your destiny is locked with everyone else’s, and you are meant to help other people,” said Rachael.