Father Don Vettese, S.J., Founder of International Samaritan, presented to students in the 2020 Jesuit Scholars Program at St. John’s Jesuit High School and Academy. The message was about changing one’s situation from being “at-risk” to being “at-risk for success” and sharing the success stories of many students in recent years. The talk included defining the support available to the scholars and the role of personal responsibility in success, adding that they have “no excuses” for not succeeding. Fr. Vettese has strong ties to the St. John’s Jesuit, having formerly served as President and Trustee and is the founder of the 2020 program.
The 2020 program targets academically-talented students whose economic and social disadvantages would otherwise preclude a St. John’s Jesuit education. Current program director, Father Thomas Doyle, S.J., said that Vettese’s founding of the 2020 program has greatly increased the diversity of the school’s student body. “The program has given the opportunity to bright, deserving, young men from poverty to graduate from a Jesuit, college-preparatory school and move on to successfully completing college and finding good jobs,” said Doyle, who has seen it lift many young men out of poverty and position them to provide for themselves and their families.
The Jesuit scholars come from all over Northwest Ohio to attend St. John’s Jesuit High school. The program offers them financial assistance with books, supplies and other school necessities, as well as tutoring, ACT/SAT preparation and college counseling, strong parental support programs, and an opportunity to give back to the community through Christian service locally, nationally, and internationally. Graduates have gone on to attend many top colleges and universities.
Alleviating poverty, whether at home or abroad, is a life-mission for Vettese, who, after his career with St. John’s Jesuit, went on to found International Samaritan. He keeps close ties with the school, including having many of the students participate in service-learning immersion trips with International Samaritan.