HARRISBURG, Pa. — In 2016, Jordan Christian graduated from Cristo Rey High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and began studying civil engineering at Penn State Harrisburg with the help of a scholarship from his high school. Never forgetting those who had helped him succeed, a few years later, Christian made a commitment to pay it forward by creating a scholarship of his own.
During Christian’s senior year of high school, he was selected for one of ten book scholarships sponsored by the Pathways to College Committee of the Cristo Rey A.N.G.E.L.S – A Network of Giving Educational and Loving Support. The A.N.G.E.L.S. are a group of women who support the Cristo Rey student community in a variety of ways by sharing their time, talents and money. The scholarships provide $500 to selected students to purchase books and classroom materials during their first year of college.
Two years later, Christian reached out to Cecily White, the director of graduate support at Cristo Rey, inquiring about how to start his own book scholarship, which would go to a senior from the Class of 2018 at the high school. He had saved $250 from working on campus that semester and wanted to give it to a student intending to attend Penn State, at any campus, the following year. Christian’s response to praise for his initiative was simply to say, “I remember how helpful my book scholarship was last year, and I want to be able to do that for someone.”
Together, Christian and White created, distributed and collected applications for eligible students, and Damyer Batties, now a student at Penn State Altoona, was selected as the first recipient of the Jordan Christian Book Scholarship.
Christian, now a junior, said, “I wanted the scholarship recipient to be a future Penn Stater because I have a lot of love and passion for the school I go to. I love to promote Penn State to high school students whenever I get a chance to.”
Having seen people around him be unable to afford to attend college is part of what inspired Christian to create the scholarship. He says that he hopes it will help motivate young people to strive for more, and in doing so, continue the legacy that began with the Pathways to College Committee’s scholarship to him in 2016.