My name is Derrick Golden. I’m a senior at Leo Catholic High School, and I’m honored to be with you tonight because it’s an opportunity to say thank you to the Big Shoulders Fund. They have helped make it possible for me to attend Leo.
I have been an honor-roll student throughout my time at Leo. I’m ranked in the top five in the senior class. I’m a two-sport athlete in cross country and track. I’m involved with all the community service projects the cross country and track teams volunteer for. I’m part of the Snowball Retreat team that promotes racial harmony and and understanding at schools throughout the Chicago area. I’m also a member of the National Honor Society, which recognizes character, leadership and community service as well as academic achievement.
I have been accepted by several colleges, and I’ll be going to Grand Valley State University in the fall as I continue to chase my dreams.
None of these opportunities would have been available to me if I hadn’t chosen to attend Leo High School. And I might not have been able to attend Leo if it weren’t for the Big Shoulders Fund.
The cost of attending a Catholic school placed a financial burden on my family, but I wanted to come to Leo because I knew it would help me develop my character and reach my academic potential. I’ve been blessed to receive enough assistance from the Big Shoulders Fund to make Leo affordable. For that I will always be grateful. Without the support of the Big Shoulders Fund, I would not be the successful student I am today because I would not be a student at Leo.
In addition to scholarship assistance, Big Shoulders provides Leo with volunteers for Lend-a-Shoulder days. They paint and fix up the school. The work they do is a big help to us because Leo is a 90-year-old school that tries not to look its age.
The volunteers also talk with us about career planning and the type of education and training we’ll need to be qualified for various jobs. They go out of their way to be helpful. These discussions are very valuable to us.
I’m happy to be part of the Leo Family. We are a true brotherhood. We have each others’ backs, and we feel that connection with our Alumni
Brothers as well—they are always around to remind us how special it is to be a Leo Man.
I have never felt like I was just a number at Leo. Teachers, administrators, staff, fellow students … everyone seems to know my name and have my best interests at heart. The teachers are totally committed to our education and challenge us to do our best. Leo’s Mission is to make sure we all graduate, move on to college and earn degrees that will set us up for lives as responsible, productive citizens, with Jesus Christ’s teachings as our model.
Leo High School has had a big impact on my life, and I’m at Leo because Big Shoulders makes it possible.
I thank God for this.
I thank the Big Shoulders Fund for the financial aid that enables me to attend Leo, and for giving me this opportunity to speak to you tonight. I’m proud to say that I’m a Leo Man, ready to make a difference in the world.
I know I speak for thousands of students at Big Shoulders schools throughout Chicago when I say God bless all of you, and thank you for all you do for us. You are changing lives.