When it was time to enroll their daughter Savannah, the oldest of three girls, in school, Amanda and Bill Bannister knew the type of environment they wanted for her. But they weren’t sure how to make it happen.
“We wanted them to have a Christian education, to teach them from a biblical perspective and provide that moral background,” said Bill. “We felt a Catholic school education would teach them how the world works in ways that aligned with our family.”
Savannah (14), Kate (12), and little sister Juliet (6) attend St. Ann Catholic School in Bartlett, which offers Pre-K through 8th grade academics using the STREAM model- a well-rounded education incorporating Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, and Math. Amanda and Bill agree that their daughters are thriving in this environment.
“All three of our kids love school,” said Bill. “The two older girls are on the Principal’s Honor Roll. They're actively involved in sports, music, and theater through the school. Juliet is only in kindergarten so doesn’t have extracurricular options yet, but she has extraordinary reading skills for a child her age. I hate to brag, but I think they're three extraordinary kids.”
When researching education options in Memphis before enrolling Savannah, Amanda learned about the needs-based scholarships available through M.O.S.T. She and Bill discussed it briefly, but it was a no-brainer. They leapt at the opportunity and quickly applied.
“We wouldn't have been able to afford to pay tuition and still make ends meet without support from M.O.S.T., especially as Kate and later Juliet joined Savannah at St. Ann,” said Bill. “I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it, because it’s a great opportunity for families like ours who know what we want for our kids but need some support to make it work.”
After this academic year, Savannah will outgrow St. Ann, having graduated 8th grade. She’s toured St. Agnes Academy and St. Francis of Assisi, but is leaning toward St. Benedict at Auburndale, whose tour made the biggest impression on her because of their reputation as a sports powerhouse. It doesn’t hurt that several of her friends will head there to begin their high school adventure.
Whichever school she picks, M.O.S.T. will be behind her with support. Already benefiting from the needs-based M.O.S.T. Scholarship, Savannah will apply for the merit-based M.O.S.T. McDonnell Scholarship early next year. Open to ten students, these additional scholarships are awarded to rising 9th graders based on performance on a standardized test, a written essay, and in-person interviews with M.O.S.T. staff and stakeholders. These ten scholarships are up from five last year, and now open to all rising 9th grade students at our partner schools.
The application period for McDonnell Scholarships opens January 14, with submissions due by February 16. Visit memphisscholarships.org/mcdonnell during that interval to apply.
The Bannisters found the perfect fit for their daughters, and the perfect partner in M.O.S.T. to help them make it happen.
“I would say that if you were interested in making a difference in kids’ lives, supporting M.O.S.T. is really one of the best ways you could possibly do that,” said Bill. “You don't realize how much positive impact you can make on someone's life by becoming a donor, but in our family, M.O.S.T. donors have helped all five of our lives.”