At the meeting on November 19th, the Assembly voted unanimously to approve the creation of the Charles Carroll Scholarship Program. The intent is that this will be an on-going, flagship program for the Assembly. In its first year, the program will offer a $500 scholarship prize, to an incoming Freshman at Ozark Catholic Academy for the Fall of 2021. The scholarship will be awarded as the first-place prize for an essay contest, sponsored and run by the Assembly in cooperation with Ozark Catholic Academy. The topic of the essay is still to be determined by the committee but will focus on some aspect of Catholic citizenship in America today. The overall intent of the program is to encourage 8th grade students to think more deeply about their civic duties as Catholics in American society and what role their Catholic identity plays in their lives as Americans. In this way, the Assembly will promote better Catholic citizenship, encourage American patriotism, and support Catholic education.
The essay contest will be made available to all incoming Freshman at Ozark Catholic Academy for the Fall term of 2021. On behalf of the winner, the Assembly will present a check for $500 to Ozark Catholic Academy. This will be credited against the winner's tuition for their Freshman year only. As the program evolves and grows, our hope is to create even more opportunities to support Catholic school students as a reward for them deepening their knowledge and understanding of good citizenship as American Catholics.
With this goal in-mind, there is no better namesake for this program than Charles Carroll. Charles Carroll was the descendant of Irish immigrants to the United States, and himself received a Catholic education from the Jesuits in France. His reputation for active civic participation and his outspoken articles in the Maryland Gazette earned him the nickname "the First Citizen" of the American Colonies. He is an American icon that every Catholic should know, because he was the sole Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence. He also leant significant financial aid to the cause of the American Revolution, and was a member of the Continental Conference. Though he was not one of the framers of the United States Constitution, he is credited with being the driving force behind the inclusion of the Freedom of Religion within the First Amendment. Without Charles Carroll, how different would the American experience be for Catholics today?
As religiously devoted, and patriotically proud Knights of Columbus, we are pleased to think that we can encourage the next generation of young Catholics to emulate Charles Carroll's example. Year one of the Charles Carroll Scholarship Program will be an excellent start to something we hope grows much bigger and touches more lives in the Northwest Arkansas community. We will kick-off the committee in February 2021. If you are interested in participating in designing the essay, as a judge, or helping in some other way, please contact the Faithful Navigator.