ICSF Dinner Gala raises over $3 million to support Catholic school scholarships

BOSTON -- Januario Carreiro, a senior at Marian High School in Framingham, has the opportunity to attend some of the best universities in the country. Yet, that opportunity never would have been possible, he said at 27th annual Inner-City Scholarship Fund (ICSF) Dinner Gala, April 6, if it wasn't for his parents' sacrifices and a scholarship to attend Marian through ICSF.

Held at the Boston Marriot Copley Place, the 2017 dinner gala was attended by hundreds of people to benefit ICSF, a scholarship program overseen by the Catholic Schools Foundation. The gala saw the program surpass its fundraising goal of $3 million, funds that will be used to provide partial scholarships to inner-city schoolchildren attending Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston.

Attendees of the event were greeted by students from local Catholic schools, who demonstrated some various new programs, projects, or accomplishments they and their schools are working on, before the dinner and a speaking program.

"I speak for the over 4,000 ICSF Scholarship recipients in elementary and high schools across Eastern Massachusetts when I say this scholarship changed our lives," said Carreiro, the student speaker for the night.

Born in Brazil, Carreiro moved to the U.S. when he was five years old. He didn't speak any English, but attended a bilingual public school in Framingham and picked up the language quickly with encouragement from his parents.

When it came time for Carreiro to attend high school, his parents "wanted to give me the best opportunity possible, and knew that Marian would provide that opportunity."

Yet, with his father working as a butcher and his mother working as a house cleaner, the family couldn't afford the private Catholic high school. So, Carreiro applied for and received a partial scholarship through ICSF.

"This scholarship makes a difference, but it still means my mom has to drive from house to house in her 14 year old Corolla just so that I can attend Marian. But, if it means I can attend Marian, there's nothing she'd rather do," he said.

Marian High School, he said, not only focuses on academics, but it also puts an emphasis on service. In addition to helping out at a local soup kitchen and volunteering at another organization, Carreiro said he recently led Marian's National Honor Society, of which he is president, in a volunteering and fundraising effort for Resiliency for Life, an academic intervention and dropout prevention program for students of Framingham Public Schools.

"I think that, especially as someone who has received so much help from the community, it's important for me to volunteer and pay it forward," said Carreiro.

Marian High and the ICSF scholarship changed his life, he said, adding that he has been accepted to Duke, Brown, Swarthmore, and Northeastern universities and plans on studying engineering.

"Thank you for believing in all of us and giving us the opportunity to receive a greater education," he said to the hundreds of benefactors of ICSF before thanking his parents, who were in attendance.

The speaking program also included remarks by Michael Reardon, executive director of the Catholic Schools Foundation; Jason Martinez, a CSF Scholar Alumnus and a 2012 graduate of Central Catholic High School; John Farina, event chairman and Northeast managing partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers; and Stephanie Nearhos of PwC.

WCVB TV anchor Ben Simmoneau acted as the Master of Ceremonies, and Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley said the invocation and offered comments.

The honoree of the gala was Staples, Inc., and CEO Shira Goodman was present to accept the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Award, which was presented by Catholic Schools Foundation founder Peter Lynch.

Part of the award plaque was printed by students from St. Joseph Prep in Boston using a 3D printer.

"On behalf of everyone here from Staples, I am really honored and inspired to accept the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Award," said Goodman.

But, she said, "the truth is that we at Staples want to thank ICSF" for bringing people together to find common ground.

"ICSF is that rare gift where we are not divided by red and blue, but we are united by doing something that is really important" and transcending divisions, Goodman said.