Rowan Joyce, Madison Scavotto named Bernard Holmes Scholars

Seniors Rowan Joyce and Madison Scavotto are the 2018-2019 recipients of the Fr. Bernard Holmes Award, a scholarship which covers the full tuition for their final year.

Named after Fr. Bernard Holmes, a Benedictine monk who was very influential during the “building boom” of the college, this scholarship is given to those who display outstanding leadership, service, and academic prowess.  

The Holmes award is only offered to rising seniors who are nominated by a member of the faculty.  Joyce and Scavatto were nominated by Dr. Derk Wierda and Ben Horton, respectively.

After the nomination, each applicant was required to submit a personal statement along with their application to continue the process.  

The next step was a primary round of interviews with the scholarship committee.  

When asked about their reaction to the process, Joyce and Scavotto admitted that it was “a shock to get through the first round of interviews.”  

“There were some really excellent, deserving applicants, we couldn’t tell how many students we were up against,” added Joyce.  

Rowan Joyce ‘19 is one of the two recipients of the Father Bernard Holmes award.

The second round of interviews was with President DiSalvo.

Scavotto mentioned that in order to prepare for the interview, she focused on her candidness.  

“Be authentic.  I spilled my heart out, and it rang true. If you’re nominated, you were for a reason; you deserve that award, and you should trust the process,” she said.  

Joyce and Scavotto found out that they were the recipients of the scholarship in May of 2018.  To them, this process was a humbling experience.

When they were asked about their motivations for pursuing the scholarship, both students named their nominators.  

“To know that  Dr. Wierda had chosen me, I was very honored.  He believed that I was worth a shot, and so I didn’t want to let him down,” said Joyce.  

Scavotto added, “I was extremely flattered that Ben Horton thought I was a good contender.  My anxiety increased with every round. but I thought to myself, ‘what’s the worst that can happen? What’s the most I could lose?’”

Rowan and Joyce were nominated based in part on their service to the college, serving as a resident assistant and student tutor, respectively.  

When asked about the accomplishments they were most proud of, Joyce joked about winning the Gingerbread House Contest and campaigning for spinach artichoke dip to be added to the coffee shop’s menu.  

She then continued, “I’m proud that I was given this opportunity to plug into the community.  I feel like I’ve taken a lot from the school, so being able to find my path was really rewarding.”  

Scavotto said, “I love that I was able to do a lot for the community and find a balance.  I was recruited to play hockey, and I wanted to be more involved in service that was hands on.  That’s why tutoring was so rewarding to me, because I was making an impact on students’ lives.”

Joyce and Scavotto both believed that this scholarship was vitally important to the college, due in part to its namesake.

“We were given this scholarship in honor of someone who had devoted their life to the school.  Fr. Holmes was an amazing leader, and I feel like we’re meant to continue that spirit,” said Joyce.  

Madison Scavotto ‘19 is one of the two recipients of the Father Bernard Holmes award.

Scavotto added, “I think that this award encourages students to be well-rounded community members.  It creates this culture, I feel, that if you give of yourself, it will come around to bless you.” 

Faculty will decide over the course of the fall and spring semesters which rising seniors are deserving of the 2019-2020 Fr. Bernard Holmes Scholarship, who, like Joyce and Scavotto, embody Benedictine values of service and leadership.