April 9, 2014  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

Hundreds of college-bound seniors from some of the poorest communities in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles packed the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels today for the Annual Senior Mass hosted by the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF).

“Catholic schools offer the best opportunity for children living in poverty to succeed in life,” said Denise Martin, CEF Executive Director. “Yet with an average household income of $24,000, thousands of families cannot afford the tuition payments. CEF tuition assistance changes the lives of children and teens by making a Catholic education possible.”

The student-led Mass, themed “Our Schools, Our Future,” honored the accomplishments of more than 800 high school seniors from 27 high schools in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

These students are recipients of tuition assistance from CEF, which has issued more than 141,000 tuition awards totaling more than $146 million. The success of CEF programs is outlined in a Loyola Marymount University study, which reports a 98% college attendance rate for CEF students.

Msgr. Joseph Brennan, the Archdiocese’s Moderator of the Curia and Vicar General, presided at the Mass that was followed by an awards luncheon on the Cathedral Plaza. Three high school seniors were honored for academic excellence. They are:

• Angela Escobedo, Santa Clara High School in Oxnard, winner of the “Student Video” contest
• Miguel Cardenas, Verbum Dei High School in Watts, winner of the “My Legacy” essay contest
• Carolina Ibarra, from San Gabriel High School in San Gabriel, winner of the “CEF Senior of the Year” award

“Yes, I live in a bad neighborhood but there is more to it than that,” said Cardenas, in his award-winning essay. “I had to show people that skin color doesn’t matter; it is the dedication and the strength to keep moving forward that will get you through these obstacles.”

Photos of the Mass are available at:

# # #