Carole Christ ’06 SCPS was not ready for college after graduating from high school, so she worked in accounting for many years until realizing that not having a degree was holding her back professionally.
When her husband, Joe, returned to school and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, she gained confidence and chose Chestnut Hill College for its proximity to their home and because the human services program appealed to her.
“I was already in the field in a way, through my volunteer work at St. Mary’s Villa in Ambler, and I enjoyed it,” remembers Christ. She decided that having the degree might also help in the future, after retirement, with whatever volunteer work she may choose.
“I was surprised at how different college was from high school,” she says. “It was much better as an adult. The CHC professors were approachable, and there was a mutual respect because we were all contemporaries. Everyone brought different life experiences to the classroom, which enriched it.”
Although Christ was successful without a college degree, she says that earning it gave her a sense of pride, and she knows she made the right choice in attending Chestnut Hill.
Christ did her internship at Philadelphia’s Northern Home for Children, which started out as an orphanage during the Civil War and now is a home for teenage mothers, giving them a safe place to live so they can finish high school. She worked with children in after-school care, helped them with homework and played with them. She even created a book called “Mind, Body, Spirit,” that showed the children how their thoughts and their environment affect how they feel.
During her time in the School for Continuing & Professional Studies, Christ met many students who struggled as they juggled work, studies, family and finances. “Many of them weren’t as fortunate as my husband and I,” she says. “Most of them weren’t getting financial aid from work. My husband’s employer paid for his education. My fellow students were racking up debt. Joe and I talked about it and wanted to help in some way.”
The help they provided comes in the form of a scholarship designated specifically to benefit SCPS students. Named in honor of the couple’s mothers, The Teresa Christ and Irene Smith-Schneider Scholarship offers partial funding to three students for one year, thanks to matching funding provided by her former employer.
“We wanted to recognize how much the encouragement and support of our mothers has meant in our lives and contributed to our successes,” she says.
The first scholarships were awarded in the fall 2015 semester and the Christs received an opportunity to meet the three scholarship recipients and their families at a reception in November. “I was so excited to meet them,” says Christ. “They are all so deserving and we are very happy to be able to help.”