The record-high number of KC Scholars in the current senior class at Bishop Ward has reached a new all-time high of 55.

Each of the 55 seniors now has a $50,000 college scholarship. The scholarships pay $10,000 per year towards college tuition at local universities for up to 5 years. Total value of the scholarships is $2,750,000.

"We are immensely proud of this year's senior class," said Bishop Ward President Jay Dunlap, "and clearly the KC Scholars program recognizes their great potential."

The announcement that all 55 seniors who applied for the scholarships have won them was made this week after a group of them visited Avila University.

Here's how it all happened:

  • Bishop Ward guidance counselor Mary Kate Kelly teaches a Junior Seminar class in the spring semester to help students plan for college and career, and in the process all students who could qualify financially and academically for KC Scholars are guided through the application process.
  • Academic Dean Dr. Emily Saatcioglu works closely with Ms. Kelly and the juniors to support the application process.
  • 55 then-juniors were identified as potential KC Scholars and submitted applications.
  • In a first round of announcements in late April, 17 students were announced as KC Scholars.
  • In a second round of announcements in May, another six students were awarded KC Scholars specifically to attend the University of Missouri in Columbia.
  • Just this week, Avila University announced they are teaming with KC Scholars to provide more scholarships, and the remaining 32 Bishop Ward applicants all received the Avila scholarships.

"This can be a life-changing opportunity for the majority of our senior class," said Dr. Saatcioglu. "Avila can be a great fit for many of our students as a Catholic university that is nearby and where many of our graduates have found success."

Students at 108 high schools throughout the Kansas City metro area can apply to the KC Scholars program. With 55 winners, Bishop Ward, though smaller than most schools in the region, has won well over ten percent of this year's KC Scholars awards.

Natalie Lewis, Chief Operating Officer of KC Scholars, visited Bishop Ward this month to find out why this one school has been so successful in winning these scholarships. 

"We have an excellent team of professionals that truly care about our students," noted Principal Dr. Michelle Olson. "This great success reflects having good students who are nurtured by caring adults who are looking out for their best interests."