Montini Catholic recently congratulated its Kazma Scholarship award recipients. Each year, the Kazma Family Foundation, in conjunction with the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF), presents awards to freshmen actively attending a Catholic parish in the Diocese of Joliet and who are seeking to attend a local Catholic High School. (The scholarships are designated during their 8th grade year). This year's Kazma Scholars from the Class of 2020 are: Luke Hemmersmeier, Matthew DiSimone , John DiSimone and Alexander Silveyra .
On Sunday, August 25th, the recipients attended a Mass in their honor, celebrated by Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, at the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier at the Blanchette Catholic Center in Crest Hill, Illinois. Also in attendance were Fr. John Belmonte, S.J., PH.D., Superintendent of Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Joliet, as well as scholarship recipients from other local Catholic high schools.
The Kazma family proudly supports Catholic education by providing scholarships to the seven Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Joliet. The Class of 2023 represents the 16th class of high school students that the Kazma family supports and mentors through their generosity. Since their inception, they have supported over 600 students in the Diocese of Joliet.
The Kazma Family Foundation was established in 1997 by Gerald and Margaret Kazma. At that time, their daughter, Leigh-Anne Kazma, was named president and sole employee. The main mission of the foundation is to provide financial assistance to students and their families seeking a Catholic education. Ms. Kazma serves on several boards including the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF), Chicago's Big Shoulders Fund and numerous elementary and secondary schools. Ms. Kazma has dedicated her entire career to personally engaging with students who receive financial aid from the foundation. She serves as a mentor for her scholarship recipients, reviewing their progress and enjoying lunch and conversation with them at their high schools. They began providing college scholarships to students at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in the Archdiocese of Chicago and branched out to provide scholarships to students throughout the Chicagoland area, including the Diocese of Joliet. In recent years, the Kazma Family has established scholarships at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Ava Maria University in Florida, St. Joan of Arc school in Florida, Universidad de Don Bosco in El Salvador, and has helped fun school construction in Honduras.)
In her address to the recipients, Leigh-Anne Kazma asked the students to give of their own treasures and talents throughout their high school years and beyond. "Everyone has something to give," she said.
"The Kazma family inspires and leads by example," said President Jim Segredo "I hope our recipients will take advantage of this great opportunity they have been given."
The Mass was followed by a reception where the Kazma family greeted and talked with every scholarship recipient. They vowed to stay in touch with each one and encouraged the students to keep them up to date on what they're learning in high school. Twice a year, Leigh-Anne Kazma visits the Montini students for a special lunch to get to know them better and to keep up with how they're navigating through their high school years. "It's something we look forward to every season," said Mr. Segredo.
In order to be eligible for a Kazma Scholarship, a student must demonstrate a sense of respect for others, be a good Catholic role model in their community, and receive no less than a "C" letter grade in any of their courses. Student applicants are also asked to submit a 250 word essay on what it means to be a Catholic student.
Each spring, Montini Catholic offers several opportunities for students to apply for scholarship awards. All scholarship opportunities offered by Montini Catholic High School can be explored by visiting the school's 'Admissions' page at: www.Montini.org.
Image above: Front Row l to r: Kazma scholars - Luke Hemmersmeier, Matthew DiSimone, John DiSimone, Alexander Silveyra; Back row: Montini Catholic President Jim Segredo, Mr. Gerald Kazma, Mrs. Margaret Kazma, Leigh-Anne Kazma, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon and Fr. John Belmonte, S.J., PH.D.