30 Uvalde Shooting Survivors Given Catholic School Scholarships to Help 'Long Road to Recovery'

Catholic Extension, a Chicago-based charity, is providing scholarships for those who wish to transfer from Robb Elementary to Sacred Heart Catholic School

A memorial dedicated to the 19 children and two adults killed on May 24th during the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School
Uvalde families grieve for loved ones . Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Thirty students from Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas have been awarded full scholarships to attend a nearby Catholic school this year.

Catholic Extension, a Chicago-based nonprofit, made the announcement August 15, the first day of school at Sacred Heart Catholic School.

"Catholic Extension is committed to the ongoing care and support for the children and families of Uvalde," Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension, said in a statement. "It is our belief that awarding scholarships to Sacred Heart Catholic School will provide a safe and loving educational environment to children who are suffering from the physical and emotional wounds of violence."

According to Catholic Extension, more than 80 children in Uvalde are seeking to transfer to Sacred Heart, the organization wrote on Facebook, "to help begin their healing and overcome trauma."

"Eleven of these children were shot and survived. Most families cannot afford tuition — 80 percent of families with school-age children in Uvalde are classified as low-income," the nonprofit wrote.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin (center with walking cane) visits the memorial for the Robb Elementary School students and teachers at the City of Uvalde Town Square
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin visits the memorial for the victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting. Joshua Lott/The Washington Post via Getty Images

"The tuition assistance means everything to my son and our family," Oscar Orona, father of a survivor, said per KSAT-TV. "My son has gone through a lot, and still has a long road to recovery ahead. At the very least, he deserves to go to a school where he feels safe. Thankfully with the support of Catholic Extension, he will now have that reality."

The organization and the community started supporting the students before the school year began.

Last week at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, top-tier hairstylists and massage therapists who traveled from the New York City area set up shop, providing haircuts and massages to students, parents and teachers free of charge.

Luis Burgos, founder of the nonprofit Don't Forget About Me, organized the event.

Uvalde Haircuts
Michael Cirlos

Over the summer, Catholic Extension sponsored Camp I-CAN, which provided third-, fourth- and fifth-graders "a safe space to heal, have fun, and gently reintegrated the children into a school-like setting around their peers," according to the organization's website.

The majority of the children who attended the camp are survivors of the mass shooting, although all Uvalde children of age were invited to participate in the camp, which was run by Sister Dolores Aviles — a Uvalde native — as well as 13 other religious sisters.

Catholic Extension is matching every gift to its growing scholarship fund.

The school district in Uvalde has also opened an official account with First State Bank of Uvalde to support Robb Elementary families affected by the tragedy. Those who wish to contribute can send checks through the mail (payable to the "Robb School Memorial Fund"), donate money through Zelle to robbschoolmemorialfund@gmail.com, or donate by calling 830-356-2273.

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