Ironton Catholic School District joins UCAN Neighbor Program

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 10, 2021

The Ironton Catholic School System in Lawrence County, which includes St. Joseph’s High School and St. Lawrence Elementary School, has joined the Scioto Foundation’s UCAN Neighbor Program.

The Ironton Catholic School System is the third Lawrence County system to join SF’s UCAN program for area schools adjoining Scioto County in the southern Ohio region. South Point and Symmes Valley School Systems joined the program in 2019.

Saint Joseph Central Catholic High School is a private Catholic high school operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Steubenville. In addition to housing the high school grades of 9-12, the school also includes junior high grades 7–8. St. Lawrence Elementary School houses first through six grades, in addition to kindergarten and preschool classes.

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“We are excited to join the Scioto Foundation,” said Chris Monte, principal of both St. Joseph and St. Lawrence Schools. “UCAN is a wonderful asset for our students, not only the graduating class, but also those preparing to graduate in the next few years.  Helping them prepare financially as well as academically is a common goal that we all share. The mini grants available to our faculty and staff will be a great asset,” he added. “We are grateful to have the Foundation and all of the benefits that will be offered.”

As part of its membership in the UCAN Neighbors Program, the Ironton Catholic School System has established a scholarship fund at the Scioto Foundation. To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must be a graduate of Ironton Catholic Schools and have a grade point average of 3.0/4.0 or better. A student must complete an essay on the benefits of a Catholic education.

A volunteer scholarship committee at Ironton Catholic Schools consisting of the guidance counselor, a teacher and the principal will make annual selections on behalf of the Board of Governors of the Scioto Foundation.

“The Scioto Foundation is happy to welcome the participation of school districts in adjoining counties to the “Neighbors” phase of the UCAN (University/College Access Network) program and offers much of its existing services to them,” Patty Tennant, program officer for donor services, said.

Through the UCAN Neighbors Program, school systems gain the advantages of transferring a scholarship to the Scioto Foundation, including permanence, accountability and professional management of assets. The Scioto Foundation becomes the school district’s partner in fundraising and completes all of the fund administration. As an incentive for school systems to join UCAN, the Foundation gives them an annual $1,000 grant for five years which the school district can combine with its own contribution to establish a scholarship endowment fund.

The Scioto Foundation will also support AP Teacher Education for educators participating in an Advanced Placement Summer Institute, and the Foundation will continue to offer annual $2,000 mini-grants to local schools for college preparedness activities. The funds can be used to support or offset costs incurred by students and families in taking AP, ACT, Explore, Plan or PSAT exams or to help fund college visits for students.

The Scioto Foundation encourages UCAN Neighbors, as well as Scioto County school systems, to take part in UCAN awareness activities throughout the school year. An annual UCAN Go to College Night, designed for students in grades 7 – 12 at the SOMC Friends Center in Portsmouth will not be held this year due to Covid 19 complications, but the Foundation hopes that it can be resumed in future years. In addition, the Foundation staff works to create activities to encourage parents and/or grandparents to save for college.

Joining the Scioto UCAN Neighbors Program is an easy process, according to SF Executive Director Kim Cutlip. New members are required to supply a board resolution from their district stating their intent to participate in the program, work with the Foundation staff to create a scholarship fund document, and designate a contact from the district who will participate in UCAN meetings, training programs and/or other projects.

Further information about the UCAN Neighbors Program may be obtained by contacting Tennant at 740-354-4612 or