Holy Trinity unveils Academic Merit Scholarship Program


James Landi, Holy Trinity Head of School and creator of the Academic Merit Scholarship Program, poses with Evening of Elegance co-chairs Cheryl Wadsworth, left, and Stephanie Dandridge. Photo courtesy of Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy

Holy Trinity Head of School James Landi has unveiled a new Academic Merit Scholarship Program that will help bright children who might not otherwise have the financial means to attend the college preparatory school.

Applications will be taken for the scholarship program for children entering grades seven to 11 through May 2 and the money will be raised through donations from local corporate and business sponsorships, mainly from a fundraising event called an Evening of Elegance which will take place March 12.

“We wanted to form a partnership between the business community and the corporate community and the school that revolves around finding young people that have great academic talent, whose parents generally don’t have the wherewithal to pay for a full tuition or any part of a tuition,” Landi said. 

Students applying for the scholarship must be residents of Brevard County and citizens of the United States. They must be eligible to enroll in middle school and high school and qualify for financial aid as determined by the independent FACTS Management system.

It is not open to current Holy Trinity students. Applicants must have a minimum 3.5 grade-point-average and must be able to maintain a 3.5 GPA once enrolled. The scholarships are good for one academic school year and may be renewed as long as the student continues to meet certain criteria.

In addition to filling out the application form, students will need — among other things — to take an entrance examination that includes a math placement test and a timed essay/writing segment.

Students who meet all of the criteria will meet with members of the selection committee and a panel will decide the scholarship recipients.

A full scholarship includes tuition, registration and facilities fees, and other necessities such as textbooks, lunches, field trip fees and other required materials. The cost of a full scholarship varies because of the different tuition rates between middle and high school.

Partial scholarships will also be available. The total number of scholarships available will depend on the amount of money raised at the Evening of Elegance, which will be held at the Timbers West Ranch of Mark and Cheryl Wadsworth.

The event is themed “Moonlight & Magnolias” and will feature gourmet food stations from Arthurs Catering, a Kentucky bourbon and cigar bar, and dancing to live music performed by Nashville recording artists, the Jared Ashley Band, with a special performance by Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Billy Austin. There will also be a live auction and an online silent auction.

There are a number of sponsorship packages ranging from $20,000 to $50 and $200. The cost of a single ticket to the event is $200. Organizers are hoping to raise $150,000.

The scholarship fund is different from the school’s financial assistant program, which is currently helping 22 percent of Holy Trinity students. That money is raised in-house, whereas the scholarships will be funded from donations by the corporate and business community.

Landi, who also started similar, successful programs at the Community School of Naples and The Salisbury School in Maryland, noted the reaction in Central Florida has been positive.

“This is a very generous group of people in this county,” Landi said. “They’re all saying the same thing. They all seem to resonate to the same philanthropic cause and that is the notion that high quality education is transformational.

“Getting youngsters to be enthusiastic about learning during their middle school and high school years is really important. Being surrounded by excellent teachers and great program studies will get those kids where they need to go. It’s all in the interest of providing opportunities for kids in the community.”

Holy Trinity Class of 2016 graduates will be heading off to some of the finest schools in the country — Harvard, Yale and Princeton, to name a few.

Not only does the scholarship program give children a chance to get on the path to great success, but corporate sponsors can see the direct impact their donation is having.

“People from outside the school aren’t interested in giving to bricks and mortar, or giving to a program,” Landi said. “They want to know they’re touching kid’s lives.”

For more information about the scholarship application process, or to make a sponsorship donation, go to htacademy.org