In recent years, McDonogh’s Scholarship Program has focused on personal engagement by providing more opportunities for students and mentors to connect. This was the impetus for shifting the annual Scholarship Celebration from the spring to the fall. On Sunday, October 16, hundreds of students, mentors, donors, Living Legacy Society members, trustees, faculty, staff, and special guests gathered in Paterakis Hall to recognize Scholarship—one of McDonogh’s most important and enduring traditions.
Head of School Dave Farace ’87, a former scholarship student himself, welcomed guests saying, “We are here tonight to celebrate the power of philanthropy to change lives. We are also here to celebrate the promise of young people, in particular, our current scholarship students who are talented scholars, artists, athletes, and leaders of character and commitment. They are our source of joy and hope.”
He then announced the establishment of three new scholarship funds: the Class of 1964 Scholarship Fund and the Jon Charles Sapp Scholarship Fund (both established anonymously) and the Margaret M. Callanan Scholarship established by Meredith and Joe Callanan, along with their son, Cormac ‘18.
After dinner and lively conversation, Farace introduced alumni speaker Courtney Vaughn ‘11 and student speaker Zach Hayashi '23. Both spoke about their McDonogh experiences and the impact it has had on them. They expressed gratitude for their teachers and shared the moments when they realized the impact of scholarship on their lives.
Vaughn started at McDonogh in first grade blissfully unaware of the support she was receiving. She recalls, “I vividly remember learning I was on scholarship at McDonogh. Navigating a place that already felt awkward as one of a few Black students was hard, and now that was layered with socio-economic status. I didn’t have the words then to describe exactly what was happening, but today I know that intersectionality was hard at play. The pressure I put on myself to perform in the classroom, to make my parents proud, and to continue being ‘worthy’ of my scholarship is a mentality that has yet to be broken.”
Zach, who had dreamed of attending McDonogh after seeing the School during youth lacrosse tournaments, described the ups and downs of his first few years at McDonogh including the COVID shutdown and canceled athletic seasons. He described a revelation that changed the course of his Upper School career and as a result, said he became more self-confident, improved his grades, worked out more, and managed his time better. “I realized that I can’t take any day for granted and there’s no shame in being different at McDonogh.” He continued, “At that moment I felt that being a scholarship student was something that I should be honored and proud of. It’s something that is unique to me and should be celebrated. It’s an opportunity.”
Both speakers reminded the audience of the important role they all play in the Scholarship Program and called on familiar phrases to illustrate their point. Zach said, “I want to encourage all my peers in this room to 'give more than you take' because it will make a difference for everyone in this community and for everyone you interact with. We’re all given this priceless opportunity so make the most out of it and do everything you can to pay it forward.
Vaughn shared the South African proverb, "ubuntu," which translates, “I am because we are.” After asking the audience to recite it with her, she explained, “Yes, you are because we all are. I would not be here if it were not because of the stories, more importantly, the people I mentioned before. McDonogh would not be what it is if it weren’t for every single person in this room. The impact we have on each other goes far beyond this event. Students, some people here you know well and others you will get to know over time. Regardless of where you fall, remember we are here for and because of you. Donors and mentors, remember those that poured into you to be here today so that you may pass on your wisdom and time to others.”