Maria del Carmen Bello '20 is the recipient of a Phi Beta Kappa Alumni of Greater Houston Scholarship. She will use the $4,000 award for college studies at the University of St. Thomas.
"This scholarship means a lot for me, and especially for my family," she said. "It’s an amazing blessing for my family. My parents really wanted to help pay for my tuition to ensure that I wouldn’t have to take out any loans, and this scholarship really helped to lighten the load. I am so thankful for it, and my parents who pushed me to apply for scholarships like this one."
Maria has enrolled into UST's liberal arts and humanities major, noting that she selected it because she has "too many interests (ranging from English, to Psychology, to Engineering, to Education, to Theatre)" to have settled on one yet. But she believes the broad curriculum of the liberal arts and humanities major will give her more time to explore options and define her career path.
She knows, however, that she will carry the lessons learned at IWA with her along the way.
"I feel that my IWA classes have prepared me very well for what’s to come beyond high school," she said. "The literature I’ve been exposed to, and the writing skills that my English classes have provided me with will definitely help me with those intense college papers. I also love the chances I had to learn about so many fields of science. There are not many schools where you get to design and build an earthquake-resistant tower and propose it to a panel of engineers. I even found myself enjoying math classes, which is definitely something people don’t usually hear from high school students. Then I got to learn some very practical knowledge through the leadership programs and finance classes. I mean, I’m proud to say that I feel very prepared to take charge of a group, manage a budget, and even successfully fill out my 401k form. And most importantly, the wonderful theology curriculum has shaped the person I am today, and gifted me with the knowledge to live out my faith through the toughest trials of college life. The morality and social teaching classes of junior and senior year will probably be the most essential takeaways from my IWA experience."
In addition to her rigorous academic work, Maria also took part in Falcon Theatre, where she starred as Jane Eyre last December. She was a member of Falcons for Life, which she said taught her how to organize and lead a group, as well as giving her a way to live out her faith. She's also a part of the Incarnate Word Academy Choir.
"Choir was a huge part of my IWA experience," she said. "It provided a wonderful community of amazing girls who all shared a passion for music. Mr. Wilson is an amazing director who would challenge us to do so much. It’s amazing what music can do for a stressed out high school student."
Maria noted that applying for scholarships entailed a great deal of hard work, from researching what was available to writing the necessary essays and providing other piece of required information. She is thrilled to have had her efforts rewarded.
"Maria is a wonderful example of being a Woman of the Word for others," said Sister Lauren Beck, C.V.I., president of IWA. "She has a beautiful voice, a beautiful spirit and has been a tremendous addition to our school community. All of us are delighted to see her recognized in this way."