St Joseph’s School (Upper Hutt) student Grace Moorman was the lucky recipient of US$1000 from the Knights of Columbus Pennsylvania to help in her Catholic education.
Joe Moorman, Grace’s father and a fourth-degree knight, told NZ Catholic this was the first time the organisation has awarded a grant to a student outside of the United States.
“When Grace won, they emailed and said, ‘we never had anybody win outside the US. We have to think what to do’,” he said.
Mr Moorman said he had kept his membership in Pennsylvania as there is no Knights of Columbus here in New Zealand. Mr Moorman is American, and his wife, Kelly, is Kiwi.
“The only people that could apply are members. So, I applied. There isn’t anything in there that says that I have to live in the US,” he said.
“Then, they got back and said, ‘you’re right. You fit the criteria and it is for Catholic education’,” Mr Moorman said.
The Knights of Columbus was founded by recently beatified Father Michael McGivney in the United States in 1882. Its three main principles are charity, unity, and fraternity.
The Knights of the Southern Cross here in New Zealand is similar and are closely linked to the organisation.
Mr Moorman said the grant would go towards practical things like school and diocesan fees, as well as uniform, but it would also allow them to fund Grace’s extra-curricular activities.
The nine-year old Year 4 student is not yet sure what she’d like to do. She said some of the money will go to “after school care because that costs a lot of money”.
“I really like to bake, but I’ve never done that in school before. I also like some art. I like painting a little. I also kind of like writing,” she said.
The grant goes directly to the school and was put under Grace’s account, where fees and payment for activities can be deducted.
Mr Moorman thanked the Knights of Columbus Pennsylvania, particularly Council 11279, which helped him fill out the application. He said the grant will not only benefit Grace, but also her older brother, Joey, as it would free up some funds for him (Joey), too.
Every year, the group hands out $1000 each to 50 lucky students to help them pursue a Catholic education.
“[My wife and I] recognise the value of Catholic education, so we really planned to send them [to a Catholic school],” Mr Moorman said. “We really think the Catholic school is really the way to go to help learn the faith.”
“I thought that’s still quite a nice little thing to happen,” he said. “Even though, I’m way on the other side of the world, but they still said, ‘if you guys out there are having good Catholic schooling, then we’ll support it.’”