Committed and Challenged to Serve

Big Brother has been offered a “jackpot” scholarship package by LaSalle University, which was my top pick for him even before scholarship offers were on the table. I was impressed with the university for many reasons, not the least of which was the interest in the prospective students that was displayed by professors, department chairs, deans, and others at the Open House we attended last fall.

One of the three scholarships Big Brother was offered at LaSalle was academic: a half-tuition award. The second was the Community Service Scholarship, requiring a separate application, special recommendations, and a personal interview. This one offers money toward tuition and a perk: he’d be guaranteed a spot in a certain (air-conditioned) dorm. All the Community Service Scholars live in this desirable location and participate in certain activities as a small community. In return, he would commit to 10 hours per week of community service.

Finally, he just learned yesterday that he is also offered a Liturgical Music Scholarship. He’s been playing the guitar and mandolin at Mass for just under a year (the first time was last Easter) and he’s scored a scholarship for this! Clearly I went to the wrong college, because I was never offered a scholarship for doing something that I willingly did for free, twice every weekend. In return for this scholarship, he will have to commit to playing at a certain number of campus Masses.

I won’t have to worry that he isn’t making time for Sunday Mass now.

What impresses me about these two (non-academic) scholarships is that they are offered at all. Clearly the University wants to make a point: by rewarding service such as community service and music ministry, the University shows how important and valuable such service is. I know that my son, given the opportunity, would find a way to continue working with Habitat for Humanity or other service organizations, and I’m quite confident that he’s going to want to keep participating in music ministry (something he does twice every weekend, at two different churches, just because he enjoys it so much). He would do that without any financial compensation. But he is being challenged now, by these awards. His challenge is to make time in his student’s schedule for serving others, to balance his commitment to schoolwork with his commitment to the community, to give up some of his free time that might otherwise be spent playing video games and instead use it to help others.

So I’m proud that he has received these offers and excited about the opportunity he has been given. What a gift!

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