Successful Founders’ Scholarship Competition Weekend Highlights Busyness Of Recruitment Season
It’s been a busy few months for Susan Gleason and Nicholas Curley, Wyoming Catholic College’s hard-working Admissions Counselors. No sooner had the College welcomed the Class of 2021 (its largest Freshmen class ever) to town then they were back on the road, searching for the members of the Class of 2022: from Colorado to Washington, Oregon to Michigan to Ohio to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illisnois, Colorado, Texas, South Carolina and Georgia, and all parts in between. This past weekend, though, saw them in Lander, hosting sixteen high-school seniors participating in the first of this year’s two Founders’ Scholarship weekends.
Each year Wyoming Catholic College offers full-tuition scholarships to select members of the incoming Freshmen class in honor of the College’s three founders: Bishop David L. Ricken, Dr. Bob Carlson, and Fr. Bob Cook. Those wishing to compete for the Scholarship are required to attend one of the Scholarship Competition weekends, where they are evaluated on excellence in academic achievement, work ethic, and communication skills. While on campus, students are asked to attend a seminar-style class, to write an essay, to deliver a 5-minute oration, and to be interviewed by a faculty panel.
Dr. Kent Lasnoski, Assistant Professor of Theology at Wyoming Catholic, was excited by what he saw during his interactions with the competitors. “On Friday, I led them in a seminar discussion on one of Plato’s dialogues, Phaedrus,” he said, “and I was impressed by their enthusiasm and their insights. There are not many better ways to spend an afternoon than pondering with a room full of eager students over the nature of love, man’s origin, and man’s final end.” His sentiments were echoed by Prof. Kyle Washut, who said that “by the end of the day, I felt that I was thinking much more deeply about the question of literature and moral example, and I have the students to thank for that. It was exciting to have the opportunity to encourage such a fine group of young men and women to come join us for four year; and I can’t wait for them all to return as freshmen.”
The weekend wasn’t all about studying and competing, however. The sixteen young visitors had the chance to participate in a wide swath of the College’s daily activities. From Compline and a candlelight Mass on Thursday night to orientation and the opportunity to audit a number of live classes in the Humanities, Science, Theology, Philosophy, or Latin curriculum tracks on Friday morning to a bonfire and Open-Mic Night with the College community on Friday and Saturday nights, they received the full-throated Wyoming Catholic College experience.
This immersion isn’t one of the “formal” elements to the weekend, but it is a key benefit. One of the greatest aspects of Wyoming Catholic College is that the professors and students develop true friendships with one another; faculty members interact with students not only in class, but around the lunchroom table, during liturgical events, and while participating in a wide range of outdoor and athletic activities. And the students are with and around one another even more regularly. This weekend helps give these high-school seniors a taste of what will be expected of them academically, yes. But it also helps to provide them with the flavor and the vitality of the place; the first step in developing the friendships that will (hopefully) last for the next four years.
This year’s second competition will take place from March 15th-18th. Students should submit a complete admissions application by February 23rd and indicate their interest on the application form. (Admitted students may receive an invitation based upon the overall excellence of the application essay, standardized test scores, and high school GPA. Additionally, there is a special scholarship competition held in Denver which is open only to students from Colorado. That competition follows the same format and awards the same scholarship.)