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Our Lady Queen of Peace in Arlington provides scholarships

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More than 320 students of all ages have received scholarships from the UJAMAA Committee at Our Lady, Queen of Peace Church in Arlington. Over the last 25 years, the committee has provided more than $300,000 in scholarships to help students attend local grade schools, high schools and colleges throughout the country.

One of the earliest recipients was Thomas Martin. In 1993, his scholarship helped him attend Duke University in Durham, N.C. Now a partner at Goldblatt Martin Pozen LLP law firm in Washington, Martin said the longevity of the program shows the parish values helping people become educated and in turn giving back to the community. “I will be eternally grateful for their support,” he said.

He said this scholarship program puts faith into action by helping people obtain an education that they ultimately can put to use for their own benefit and the community.

Martin wants people to realize the parish is not a company with infinite financial resources.

“They take the money they do have and donate it on behalf of us students so that we can get ahead,” he said. “It is the fact that they care and give and sustain the giving. Every dollar is valuable. I commend them for that.”

For Myra Ceasar, a parishioner, receiving the scholarship in 1999 meant fulfilling her grandmother’s desire for her to continue her education. Although Ceasar’s grandmother died while she was a high school senior, she pursued a degree at George Mason University in Fairfax.

Veronica Dabney, a parishioner and president of the UJAMAA Committee, said the idea for the scholarships came through a conversation with then pastor Father James K. Healy as a way to use the Black and Indian Mission Collection funds to help parishioners and those in the community. Because parishioners had asked Father Healy for help paying their tuition, Dabney suggested the collection funds be used for scholarships.

“Over the years, the UJAMAA members have identified and sponsored students who are motivated and who may have exceptional challenges that merit assistance to reach their goals,” Dabney said. “Many of our students have gone on to very successful careers.”

Some have become attorneys, a disaster risk management specialist, veterinarian, designers at an architect firm and others.

“We have continued over the years because it has been rewarding to be able to help so many students, even if in a small way,” said Dabney. “It has also been a blessing to see so many of them do well.”

To apply

Contact Veronica Dabney at vdabney@cox.net

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017