CTK Alum to Give Back by Rewarding a Deserving CTK Student with a Scholarship

Elijah Anderson ’18, Boston College ’22, returned to CTK in June after his college graduation for a brief stint supporting the administrative team in payroll and human resources. He valued the opportunity to give back to CTK and reconnect with teachers and staff, and also attended the CTK Class of 2022 graduation ceremony. Watching the newest graduates walk across the stage was a déjà vu experience for him “It brought back a lot of memories and emotions. Coming back to CTK was full circle. I was looking at myself in the mirror. I want them to feel what I feel and accomplish some of the things I have. Don’t limit yourself. Your dreams can come true!” This experience reinforced Elijah’s desire to create an alumni scholarship for a deserving CTK student as they enter their senior year. His focus is on rewarding a student who has either improved academically through hard work or in some way made CTK better during his or her time there.

During his own time as a CTK student, Elijah successfully juggled a demanding schedule of college prep schoolwork, his 4-year Corporate Work Study job at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., National Honor Society officer duties, the drum major role in the Gladiator band, and several service experiences including tutoring and teaching dance to 3rd graders at Helping Hand. If that wasn’t challenging enough, when he turned sixteen, he started working at Taco Bell every day after school to help his family pay for his private school education at CTK. He shared that, “Money has always been a barrier to things I wanted to do both in high school and college. I needed to work to pay for school and other expenses that financial aid didn’t cover. It’s not just the parents that feel the pressure, students also bear the financial burden.”  While a student at Boston College, Elijah continued to work at a Taco Bell near campus. He dedicated 25 hours a week during his junior and senior years to his job, and became one of their youngest managers.

His participation in summer college programs while at CTK provided him with exposure to prestigious schools in different parts of the country. “It helped me realize college was an equal playing field. I knew I would need to work harder to be successful, but I gained confidence that I could do it. It also motivated me to go away from home and experience new things.” While he loved his newfound independence at BC, it was an adjustment from the strict regimen of his time at CTK and living at home. He needed to learn to study differently to be successful, while also scheduling time to do laundry, prepare meals, and get involved in clubs/activities like United Front and Global Health Initiatives. He also became a Resident Assistant his junior year in a first-year dorm. While he enjoyed mentoring and bonding with the younger students, having to enforce the health and safety restrictions during COVID made his job more difficult.

Before starting at Boston College, Elijah participated in a summer bridge program for additional academic preparation. He initially questioned the value of the program, but ended up enjoying it and building a community of fellow students of color and from low-income families, that he stayed connected with throughout his time at BC. When asked what advice he has for the new CTK grads, he says, “You don’t have to have it all figured out. Definitely have a vision and desired path, but be flexible to shifting it if you discover something that is better for you. Keep wanting and achieving more!”  Elijah adjusted his plans while at BC. He started out as a pre-med major with a goal of becoming a doctor, but switched his major to Sociology and thrived. He has maintained his goal of becoming financially independent but is seeking a better work/life balance than a medical career would allow. Elijah credits his time working at Arthur J. Gallagher in his CTK CWSP job, and later as an intern while at BC with helping to learn how to be more professional and to opening his eyes to other career paths. His experience there opened the door to his new, fulltime underwriting position in Atlanta at Risk Placement Services, a division of Arthur J. Gallagher.

His goal is to award the first Elijah Anderson Alumni scholarship in 2024. He’s still working out the scholarship details, but he wants to enlist the assistance of CTK’s National Honor Society executive board and an alumni committee to identify and help select a worthy senior. He envisions announcing the recipient during the Mass of the Holy Spirit and schoolwide assembly at the start of the school year. “I want to reward their hard work and positive actions. I also want to offer to act as a mentor to the student, providing advice on college, careers, or whatever they need my help with.