Scholarship recipients encouraged with story of St Nick

17 Feb 2022

By The Record

This year’s recipients of the KSC Education Foundation Scholarships, pictured with State Executive Officer of KSC and current Chair of the KSC Education Foundation, Mr Wojciech Grzech, third from left. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.

By Eric Martin and Jamie O’Brien

In honour of a 30-year tradition of serving the community and supporting those in need, the Knights of the Southern Cross (KSC) Education Foundation Inc have offered 57 scholarships to help meet the need to provide quality Religious Education in the Catholic school system.

Gathering at the Catholic Education Office, 50 Ruislip Street, Leederville, on Monday 6 December, the Trustees of the Foundation met with representatives of the University of Notre Dame (UNDA), the leaders of Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) and distinguished members of the KSC (WA) to bestow the scholarships upon 41 recipients (with 16 people awarded two).

Special guests for the occasion included Professor Francis Campbell, Vice Chancellor of UNDA, Professor Caroline Mansfield, UNDA’s Executive Dean of Education, Philosophy and Theology, Dr Debra Sayce, Executive Director of CEWA, Mr Tony Curry, CEWA’s Director of Leadership and Employment Services, Fr Michael Moore SM, Rector of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary, Nigel Hayward, in his capacity as State Chair of the KSC, John Walczak, State Executive Officer of KSC and current Chair of the KSC Education Foundation, Wojciech Grzech.

In his address, Mr Grzech, shared the inspirational story of St Nicholas, encouraging the scholarship recipients to reflect on how the life of this saint could inspire them in their own vocations, nurturing young Catholics in the faith.

“St Nicholas’s parents died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young, but before their death his parents raised him in the fullness of the Catholic faith, that was both intellectual and very practical. He lived at a time when the ruling authorities ruthlessly persecuted Christians – so much so that prisons were so full of Christians with little room for the real criminals,” said Mr Grzech.

“It was Nicholas’s maturity of faith that prompted him to engage both his heart and his intellect: He became known for his generosity to those in need, and especially his dedication to the protection of children… It was the same faith that also took him to the Council of Nicaea, where he played a key role in defending the Church against heresy.

  • Mr Wojciech Grzech presents Redemptoris Mater Seminary Rector Fr Michael Moore with a KSC Education Foundation scholarship for 2022. Photo: Supplied.
  • Mr Wojciech Grzech presents Seton Catholic College teacher Mr Dermot Friel with his KSC Education Foundation scholarship for 2022. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.
  • Mr Wojciech Grzech welcomes KSC Education Foundation scholarship recipients and guests to the presentation ceremony, Monday 6 December 2021.  Photo: Jamie O’Brien.

“I pray that you too can use your studies at Notre Dame University as a catalyst for your own faith journey, so that you continue to be the witnesses of our faith that our community so desperately needs.”

Seton Catholic College teacher and scholarship recipient Dermot Friel, spoke to The Record about the close alignment between the program’s objectives and the goals of the recipients.

“I plan to use the scholarship to help fund my studies in a Masters in Religious Education Leadership and Management at Notre Dame University,” said Mr Friel.

“I started my Masters as I want to develop my leadership skills and also gain accreditation to lead in a Catholic school: I want to help fulfill the Church’s mission to evangelise and spread the Gospel values and through this study, I hope to gain an understanding of the leadership that is required to lead in a school that is enriched with the Gospel values in a way that promotes the formation of Catholic identity in its community.”

The KSC Education Foundation Inc was established in 1992 to provide scholarships to teachers endeavouring to enhance their knowledge and skills in Religious Education through further study at UNDA, and while the Foundation’s scholarship program started out small, over 30 years it has provided scholarships to more than 900 teachers, with a total value exceeding $2 million.

“None of this would be possible without the continuing financial support provided by many current and previous members of the Knights of the Southern Cross,” said Mr Grzech.

“I wish to specifically recognise the assistance given to the Foundation during the year by the staff and leadership of the University of Notre Dame, in particular, we extend our sincere thanks to Professor Campbell and his team and UNDA, especially the staff of the Fees Office, for their cooperation and support.”