My name is Caitlin Papalia and I am part of the Carondelet High School class of 2020. I am the oldest of three, and my two sisters, Kacy (’21) and Mackenzie (’23), also attend Carondelet. Growing up going to a private, Catholic school from kindergarten to eighth grade, it was always my dream to continue my education at Carondelet. I had family members that had attended both Carondelet and De La Salle, and I would constantly hear about the infamous traditions, values, and lasting relationships made. I wanted to be a part of the community that Carondelet is known for while also receiving an education that enriched my Catholic faith.
However, because of my family’s financial situation, I was not entirely sure if that was possible. When one thinks of a private, Catholic education, “affordable” typically is not the first word that comes to mind. And my parents faced serious financial constraints putting three children through private K-8. My parents, like many other families, struggled with the decision to continue with private education.
They knew how badly I wanted to attend Carondelet by any means necessary, so when they heard about the potential financial aid that they could receive, they immediately applied. After I was accepted into Carondelet and learned about my parents’ receipt of financial grants sufficient to fund my tuition to Carondelet, I was ecstatic and beyond grateful.
I had no idea what the next four years would bring, but I knew that Carondelet would give me the environment to figure myself out.
Looking back on my four years at Carondelet, I would not trade my experiences there for anything. I can confidently say that I am proud of the young woman I have become. Before coming to Carondelet, I had heard of the “sisterhood”, but I really did not know what it entailed until I experienced it firsthand. My peers at Carondelet, better known as my sisters, have had a major impact on my life, and learning from them has allowed me to grow intellectually and spiritually. The community that I have gained is truly unmatched. As cliche as it might sound, Carondelet pushed me to become the best possible version of myself.
Through the confidence that I was able to find within myself as a result of the environment of Carondelet, I started the American Sign Language club, the American Sign Language Honors Society, and I tried rugby for the first time and became the varsity team captain.
Carondelet gave me an amazing education, my best friends, the opportunity to grow in my faith while embracing other backgrounds, and most importantly, the ability to recognize how I can make a difference in the world. None of this would have been possible without the financial support my family received, and for that I am eternally grateful.
This fall, I will be attending the University of Notre Dame with a major in Biological Sciences. I believe that I am more than ready to take on college with the skills I have acquired from Carondelet. I was taught how to become a woman of heart, faith, courage, and excellence, and I plan to continue that in college and throughout life. The financial aid that I was given from Carondelet opened one door for me, and through that I was able to open so many more doors for myself. I would not be where I am today if it was not for Carondelet. A Carondelet education can be affordable, and reflecting on my time in high school, I can confidently say that it was worth it.