“I am happy to tell you that I received from Smith College the Springfield-Holyoke Scholarship which entitles me to full tuition for all four undergraduate years. I intend to major in Engineering. I know that I am among the fortunate scholars who successfully transitioned from this great program to a great college. I appreciate all the experiences that you provided for us. This program has helped me to work hard and have the confidence to continue to be the “scholar” that I know I can be.”
The words above were written by a recent graduate of Step Forward/Quest, a program at Holyoke Community College for middle and high school students. Step Forward/Quest is a year-round multi faceted program focusing on academics, fine arts, cultural appreciation and leadership development.
Step Forward/Quest fosters growth in students’ self-esteem, expands their expectations for achievement, and encourages them to see college as a vital part of their futures. The program design provides equal emphasis upon the acquisition of intellectual skills, fine arts, cultural experiences, leadership skills, and the skills of social etiquette.
Step Forward and Quest are unique programs for girls and boys. There are no other year-round programs in the Valley that focus on academic enrichment, fine arts, cultural appreciation, and leadership development throughout students’ middle and high school years. Our students are staying in school and doing well; report cards attest to their continuing academic improvement. Our scholars are being nominated to Middle and High School National Honor Societies and have won numerous academic awards.
They are serving as student leaders; they are being chosen for participation in special school programs, and their creative work has been published and nationally recognized. Over the years, retention and program completion rates have increased. Our greatest success is this: 100% of the scholars who have graduated from Step Forward/Quest have gone on to pursue a higher education degree.
Support from the Annual Catholic Appeal opens the opportunity for these scholars to participate in our programs. We are able to provide program fee assistance to students who qualify for the program but whose families might not be able to bear the financial burden of enrolling. “Thank you” seems inadequate to express our gratitude to those who support the Annual Catholic Appeal. Without your generosity, these opportunities would be greatly reduced.