Scott Pawley is a 15-year-old freshman at Calvert Hall College High School whose motivation and care for others is an inspiration to us all. His mother, Mary, described his approach to life as, “He has a ‘why can’t we do this?’ attitude. ‘It has never been done before, but why can’t we try.’”
It’s this attitude that led to the establishment of the Knott CARES (Catholic Academic Resource Enrichment Scholarship) Fund within the Catholic Community Foundation. This fund will support students who are financially challenged, learn differently, and could benefit from the Special Education and Inclusion Programs offered at archdiocesan schools. These programs provide extra resources through specially trained teachers, small group sizes, and/or modified curriculums. The programs’ costs can add thousands of dollars on top of tuition, creating an insurmountable barrier to many families, preventing their children from receiving a Catholic education. This is where the Knott CARES Fund steps in.
Scott, a Knott Scholar both in elementary school and now at Calvert Hall, came up with the idea for Knott CARES while an eighth-grader at School of the Incarnation. He said, “Catholic school has been a blessing for me, and I think it is my responsibility to make it easier for others to experience that same reward.”
When asked why he focused on students with learning differences, Scott said, “I received a Knott Scholarship and wanted to give back. I have a cousin who has autism. That’s how I know how difficult it can be for people with special needs and disabilities. I was looking to see if there was a full scholarship offered by the Archdiocese for these students, but there wasn’t.”
Mimie Helm, Director of Knott Scholarship Funds, said “Being able to partner with the Catholic Community Foundation so that they can help us spread the word, expand our reach and collect donations on our behalf has been terrific. There was no scholarship program like this that existed anywhere in the Archdiocese,” she continued. “Scott has been the boots on the ground. He’s written lots of letters to other organizations to try to obtain funds. It is amazing how dedicated this young man is to this endeavor.” Indeed, Scott’s dedication to the fund includes promoting it at his parish and organizing two fundraisers at his former school too.
Martin Knott, Chair of the Marion I. and Henry J. Knott Scholarship Fund (and son of Marion and Henry) said, “Knott CARES is something that was originated by Scott. It was all his drive. He’s a young man who’s emblematic of what my mom and dad wanted. Their vision was to provide high-achieving students with a Catholic education, and to give them a good grounding to grow up and become leaders in the community…in the Church…wherever they might be. Scott is the personification of that.”
Remarkably, all by the age of 15.