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Wheeling Jesuit University Awards First-Ever Mount de Chantal Music Scholarship

Samantha Herrington of Bethel Park, Pa., has been selected to receive the first ever Mount de Chantal Music Scholarship at Wheeling Jesuit University.

Funded through a grant from the Sisters of the Visitation, who for 160 years operated Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy on the property adjacent to Wheeling Jesuit, the competitive scholarship is a $10,000 award. This scholarship, renewable for four years, is awarded to an incoming female freshman who actively participates in one of the University's conducted ensembles, maintains the required grade point average and has a record of Christian service.

"Samantha's musical skills, her love of singing, and her desire to reach out with music to the campus and the community are very impressive. She is a perfect fit for Wheeling Jesuit University and we are pleased to award her the first Mount de Chantal Music Scholarship," said Rev. James J. Fleming, S.J., Ph.D., president-designate of Wheeling Jesuit University. "The inauguration of this scholarship is an important element in the expansion of our music program, which is offering exciting opportunities and providing new facilities for our students while continuing the legacy of Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy in Wheeling."

A singer and clarinetist, Samantha began singing publicly at the age of 11 by cantoring at St. Valentine Roman Catholic Church in Bethel Park and singing with the adult choir. Over her four years at Bethel Park High School (BPHS), she participated in marching band, school musicals and four choirs, including the elite "Top 21" choir, which tours annually with BPHS's instrumental ensembles to the Festivals of Music competition and this year earned three of the school's 29 total awards.

Samantha intends to participate in the choirs at Wheeling Jesuit and, through singing, "offer to people the same power of music" as she pursues her education to become an English teacher.

"To me, music and singing are just as important as breathing or eating," she said. "The absolute joy that I get when singing is my favorite feeling in the world."

Sr. Joanne Gonter, former superior of the Mount de Chantal community and a graduate of both Mount de Chantal and Wheeling Jesuit, said, "The Sisters of the Visitation, including those of us from Mount de Chantal, are very happy to see the first recipient chosen for the music scholarship at Wheeling Jesuit - and that this first recipient is someone as talented as Samantha. We look forward to watching her develop musically and personally over the next four years."

In competing for the scholarship, applicants were required to have a high school GPA of 3.5, and a minimum score of 1100 on the SAT and/or a 24 on the ACT standardized examinations. In addition, application required an audition, an essay and a recommendation from a high school music teacher.

In his recommendation of Samantha for the music scholarship, BPHS Choral Director Todd Kuczawa spoke highly of her leadership skills, her musicality and flexible singing range, and her willingness to help those around her.

"Samantha's dedication to her school and community are most admirable," he also remarked. "I have no doubt that she is going to be very successful in her college career and in life. I look forward to hearing of the great things that she is sure to accomplish."


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