Senior members of MUSP celebrated while new members are welcomed to program

Senior MUSP member Alexis Clark is one of the students who without MUSP may not have been able to attend Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School.

“I shadowed at VASJ and had a great time,” said Clark. “I told my mom, ‘I have to go to VASJ,’ but she didn’t know if we could afford it.”

Thankfully, Alexis’ principal at St. Francis, Sr. Karen Somerville, SND (whose brother is a Marianist, Bro. John Somerville, SM), told her about the MUSP program at VASJ.

“Without VASJ, I don’t know where I would be,” said senior MUSP member Alexis Clark. “These people are my family away from home. MUSP is a smaller family within our bigger family at VASJ.”

The mission of the Marianist Urban Students Program, which was founded in 1992 by The Society of Mary, is to offer high-potential students in urban Marianist elementary schools with the financial, academic and social support needed to succeed at Marianist high schools like VASJ.

Members of the MUSP family gathered for a Lenten dinner on March 13 to celebrate the graduating MUSP seniors and welcome the incoming freshmen Class of 2018.

For VASJ MUSP Director Timothy Neary ‘03, seeing members of the program succeed and excel at VASJ is one of the many reasons he loves his job. During the 2013-14 school year, he has seen a lot of progress and had much to celebrate during the Lenten dinner.

“I have never seen growth in maturity, spirituality and academics like I have seen with these kids,” Neary said of his current MUSP students.

Before introducing the incoming members of the MUSP Class of 2018, senior members of the program had a chance to share their experiences.

It isn’t surprising that members of MUSP feel like they are members of a smaller family within the larger VASJ family since one of the core values of a Marianist Education is family spirit, something that separates a VASJ education from the rest.

“MUSP is all about togetherness – in family, faith and spirit,” said senior MUSP member DeSeanna Morgan.

Jeff Williams, also a senior member of the program, has had a challenging year and was thankful to have his MUSP family by his side through the difficulties. “Mr. Neary and every other person in MUSP is a helping hand through whatever struggle you may have,” Williams said. “I have to thank the Marianist brothers that make this education possible. I thank them with my whole heart.”

The current MUSP members were excited to welcome the seven new students who will be entering the program as the Class of 2018 and presented them with gifts.

“These students really impressed me in their interviews,” said Neary of the incoming freshmen.

As one chapter of MUSP will soon be closing with the graduating seniors, the future is bright with the following incoming freshmen who will be joining the VASJ and MUSP family this fall: Jaida Bates of St. Jerome, Lasharia Willaims of St. Agatha-Aloysius, Christopher Boyking of St. Adalbert, Danyell Wilson of St. Francis, Mignon Moore of St. Jerome, Tahja Howard of St. Francis and Chantasia White of St. Thomas.

The incoming MUSP Class of 2018. Row 1, left to right: Mignon Moore, Danyell Wilson, Lashariah Williams
Row 2, left to right: Director of MUSP Tim Neary, Jaida Bates, Tahja Howard, Christopher Boykin and Chantaisa White