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Aurelia Varallo Mariani Scholarship
Named in memory of Aurelia Varallo Mariani, a 1951 graduate of St. Cecilia Academy, NCBWL funds scholarships for young Catholic women at all three area Catholic high schools: St. Cecilia Academy, Father Ryan High School, and Pope John Paul II High School. The scholarship is funded mainly through the proceeds and patron donations of the annual Pearls of Wisdom event held in September.
Meet Our Scholars
The Nashville Catholic Business Women's League is proud to help support the education of these fine young women whose lives reflect Catholic teachings and good works.
Tatiany Morales Irizarry is a member of the Class of 2022 at Father Ryan High School. She attended Stratford Stem Magnet School for junior high. She is a parishioner of Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Tatiany is a member of the Father Ryan High School Marching Band. She is also a member of the American Sign Language Club and volunteers to help with Mass at Father Ryan. Read more about Tatiany here.
Mia Picchietti is a member of the Class of 2024 at Pope John Paul II High School and a graduate of St. Joseph School. She likes to play tennis, run, listen to music, and learn about different parts of the world. She has five older brothers, all of them are over the age of 18. She grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, but the family moved to the Nashville area about five years ago. She plans to be an environmental engineer. "I want to partake in restoring God's creation back to health," she said.
Naomi Nicole Mejia of St. Cecilia Academy is a member of the Class of 2023 and a graduate of St. Henry School. She attends Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish with her family. Naomi is one of four children. During her time as a St. Henry Tiger, she pursued both academic and artistic interests with a quiet determination, as described by her former Religion teacher, Sister Mary Barbara Keiser, O.P. She is recognized by multiple members of the St. Henry School community as a positive, hard-working and kind young woman with a pleasant and enjoyable disposition.
Our Scholarship History
by Briana Grzybowski
originally printed in Tennessee Register
The Nashville Catholic Women’s Business League, which seeks to bring Catholic women professionals together for fellowship, networking, and faith sharing,was established in 1949.
“When the League first began, it was a small group of Catholic working women, primarily teachers and nurses, who wanted to get together to share their faith and support each other in their professional lives,” said Diana Miller, a retired Social Security Administration tech expert and Church of the Assumption parishioner.
“They could only meet at night because lay groups in different parishes met during the day, and most women in the diocese were heavily involved in those groups.”
When member and 1951 SCA graduate Aurelia Varallo Mariani died in 1998, the League set up a memorial scholarship fund in her honor to support a deserving and financially needy student at St. Cecilia through all four years of her high school education. Since then, proceeds from the annual fashion show have supported the scholarship fund. The scholarship program has also expanded to include one female Father Ryan student and one female student at JPII.
“Principals at the high schools nominate students who they think are deserving,” said Frances Varallo, a parishioner at St. Henry Church and sister of Aurelia Varallo Mariani.
Nominees must have a track record of outstanding academic achievement and community involvement, as well as demonstrated financial need.
“The first scholarship we awarded was $1,000, but we’ve been able to expand it to $10,000 a piece per year for the three winners. The scholarship fund has really changed the focus of the fashion show,” she said. The fashion show also includes a silent auction. Proceeds from the auction are the main source of funding for the scholarship program.
“We’ve been overwhelmingly blessed every year with the support for the silent auction,” said Beth Lance, a St.Henry parishioner and retired healthcare administrator.
“Over the past several years, the auction itself has raised an average of $30,000, plus an additional $9,000-$10,000 in patron donations. Some of the money we receive goes towards covering the overhead costs of the fashion show and luncheon, but most of it goes towards the scholarships.”
"The League has always recognized the value of a Catholic education,” President Debbie Lassiter said. “Because of this, we really want to make that accessible to young women whose families would otherwise be unable to afford it. Tuition has gone up a lot over the years, and these scholarships cover a significant portion of that cost for those families.”