CCA’s guidance counselors help graduate earn thousands in college scholarships

Maria Pirolli, a Class of 2016 graduate, credits CCA’s guidance counselors and career-planning course for giving her the tools to nab more than $250,000 in scholarships to multiple colleges.

“They made me go out of my comfort zone and broadened my knowledge of scholarships and schools,” said Maria, of Mountain Top, Luzerne County.

She chose the University of St. Thomas in Houston after considering offers from schools including Elizabethtown College, Johnson & Wales University and Marywood University.

Maria said CCA enabled her to pursue multiple avenues of interest, carry a busy church and community volunteer schedule and hold a 30-hour-a-week job.

“The flexibility was amazing. I learned at my own pace, I could slow down if I need to, and my teachers were always there for me,” said Maria, who is one of 12 kids in her family ranging from ages 8 to 31. “It was the best-case scenario to be on my own schedule rather than someone else’s.”

That flexibility allowed her to volunteer with church groups and nursing homes, teach a religious education class and volunteer for vacation Bible school. She also served on mission trips to New York City, where she distributed cold-weather gear to the homeless, and Camden, New Jersey, where the volunteers were required to live on $3 a day.

“It was an eye-opening experience,” she said. “I definitely want to keep service in my life. Service enhances my outlook on my surroundings.”

Maria plans to study fine arts and take business classes at St. Thomas. She has an eye on the interior design field. She felt prepared to join the 1,400-member student body far from home.

“CCA has made me much more independent as a student,” she said. “I know at St. Thomas I can find my way. It’s where I belong.”


High School Learner