SPRINGFIELD, NJ — On Wednesday, Sept. 14, Springfield Knights of Columbus awarded two local students with scholarships. The two recipients were and Kayla Hoesley of Summit and Cristina Tillinghast of Union. Both students were selected by the organization based upon their application. Grand Knight Ben Russo explained more about the selection process.
“The scholarships are available to anyone in the area,” Russo told LocalSource. St. James the Apostle Church in Springfield makes the final decision as to who will receive the scholarships. “The two students selected received $1,000 each,” Russo said.
Tillinghast is currently attending high school at Mount St. Mary Academy. She spoke to LocalSource about her transition to Catholic high school as well as her reaffirmed faith. She is grateful to Springfield Knights of Columbus for aiding in her achievements.
“I’m so honored and proud to receive this scholarship,” Tillinghast told LocalSource. “I absolutely love Mt. Saint Mary. Last Wednesday was my first day, and so far it’s been wonderful.”
Tillinghast discovered the opportunity to apply for the scholarship while attending middle school. As part of the application process, Tillinghast wrote an essay about attending a Catholic high school and the obstacles she encountered. She is currently enrolled in a theology class as a part of her new curriculum.
“Last year I had a conversion experience where I was called to holiness,” Tillinghast told LocalSource. “It was a family adjustment, but we got through it. I love Catholic school because it makes me feel like I’m part of a family.”
Tillinghast is also enrolled in a religious education program outside of school where she is preparing for confirmation. She plans to receive the sacrament on Oct. 1. This is also leading her deeper into her faith.
“Between my theology class and religious education, I’m learning a lot of interesting information about Catholicism,” Tillinghast told LocalSource. “I’m selecting a sponsor and setting up an interview for confirmation. I selected St. Catherine as my Catholic name because I admire her as an educated, peaceful woman.”
Hoesley is currently attending Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, and was therefore unable to attend the ceremony. Her parents, Jana and Albert Hoesley, received the scholarship for her. They spoke to LocalSource on behalf of their daughter.
“Kayla was so excited to receive the scholarship,” Jana Hoesley told LocalSource. “She’s adjusting to a new school, which is a big change. Her major is undecided, but she wants to study athletic training.”
Albert Hoesley has a personal connection to the Knights of Columbus, and commended their charitable work.
“I’m a member of Knights of Columbus,” Albert Hoesley told LocalSource. “I support them and attend many of their functions. They do a lot of charitable work and activities.”
Jana Hoesley also commended the Knights of Columbus for their generosity.
“It’s nice to see them giving back to the community,” Jana Hoesley told LocalSource.