St. Thomas Aquinas Scholars Program

The 2020-21 St. Thomas Aquinas Scholars collected more than 500 turkeys and $14,000 in donations for their humanitarian effort to provide Thanksgiving dinners to those served by St. Mary's Food Bank.


What is the St. Thomas Aquinas Scholars Program?

“Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe, to know what he ought to desire, and to know what he ought to do.”- St Thomas Aquinas

The St. Thomas Aquinas Scholars Program is named in honor of the saint Catholics believe to be the Church’s greatest theologian and philosopher. This is a highly competitive, integrated program of study that provides a challenging, well-rounded education to Notre Dame Prep’s most gifted and motivated students. The program of study stimulates academic and personal development through rigorous courses, unique cultural and academic field experiences, and advanced research opportunities. All Aquinas Scholars receive a St. Thomas Aquinas Scholarship.

Aquinas Scholars must meet rigorous academic requirements. The Aquinas Scholars program will not deter a student from participating in the athletic, music, or extra-curricular programs. Mentorship and advising within the Capstone Experience includes personal contact with professional experts in their field, individualized support during the university discernment and application process, and analysis of potential career interests.  The St. Thomas Aquinas Scholars Program culminates with the Aquinas Capstone Experience, an independent, research-based project within a discipline of deep personal interest to the scholar to reflect the personal, spiritual, and academic growth students experience throughout their time at NDP. During their final semester, scholars offer an oral and visual presentation of their Capstone to a large audience.

The Benefits:

Scholars enjoy the following benefits from participation in the program:

  • A team of dedicated faculty members who act as mentors and advisers to the scholars on an ongoing basis

  • A designated counselor assigned to the scholars for all four years in order to bolster academic skills, social-emotional growth, and college & career planning

  • A curriculum that prepares scholars to succeed in the most rigorous institutions of higher learning

  • Opportunities for field experiences and cultural enrichment during each academic year

  • The substantial support of a peer group committed to similar goals of personal excellence and intellectual growth

  • One goal of the program, however not a requirement, is for scholars to achieve AP Scholar Awards and recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program

  • Designation as an Aquinas Scholar at Commencement and identification of the program and its requirements on all college applications

How to Become a Scholar:

Enrollment in The St. Thomas Aquinas Scholars Program is limited.

  • Candidates must demonstrate high general intellectual ability as well as specific high-level ability in the verbal, mathematical, and language skills areas on the High School Placement Test

  • After completing the standard admission requirements, candidates with a strong admissions portfolio (middle school grades, test scores, and recommendations) will be considered for the next round of interviews

  • Once selected for the next round, candidates will be interviewed by the Assistant Principal for Academics and the Admissions Director

  • Invitations to enter The St. Thomas Aquinas Scholars Program are then sent based on the above criteria and the interview

Yearly Goals of the St Thomas Aquinas Scholars Program:

  • 9th Grade: The goal for freshman year is to expand students’ worldview. This will begin with World Geography and Cultures. Students will complete their first credit of Social Studies courses and will delve deep into the geography and cultures of the various world civilizations

  • 10th Grade: The goal for sophomore year is for students to develop a critical and personalized lens with which to view the world. This will develop the students’ abilities to think logically, analyze and solve problems, craft and assess arguments, and develop a personal moral and ethical compass

  • 11th Grade: The goal for junior year is to form students’ research and critical thinking skills. Students will enroll in a research-focused class to learn how to systematically gather information to help answer a question or solve a problem. Students will also further develop their written and oral communication skills to prepare for the Capstone Experience

  • 12th Grade: The goal for senior year is for students to pursue a research project of their choosing, called the Aquinas Capstone Experience. This is the culminating work of a student’s studies and it represents their ability to conduct research and write effectively. This is a “passion project” that provides students with the opportunity to showcase all of the skills they’ve built in their time at NDP

Program Requirements:

  • Complete a minimum of 32 credits (30 Academic, 2 Christian Service)

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.9 or higher (weighted)

  • Maintain an Honors or Advanced Placement level in at least 4 core subjects each academic year (English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Theology, World Language)

  • Complete a minimum of 7 AP courses in any subject

  • Complete a minimum of 8 credits in honors courses

  • Complete a 4th level of consecutive study in the same World Language (Rising seniors are considered to have met this requirement if they have completed a 4th level of world language at NDP. For example, if a current junior successfully completes Spanish 4, that student does not need to take another Spanish class to fulfill the requirement.)

  • Complete the following electives: Honors Argumentation & Rhetoric, Honors Philosophy, Focus Seminar/AP Capstone, Aquinas Capstone Experience 

  • Regular participation in monthly programming set by the STA Academic Team and the STA Counselor

  • Plan and execute the Aquinas Capstone Experience in a subject area of the scholar’s choosing

Suggested Course of Study:

Mock 9th Grade Schedule

 

English

Math

Science

Social Studies

World Language

Theology

PE/Health

Elective or Free Period

Semester 1

-English 1
-English 1 H

-Algebra 1
-Algebra 1 H
-Geometry
-Geometry H

-Biology
-Biology H

 

 

-Frosh Sem

-Spanish 1
-Spanish 1 H
-Spanish 2
-Spanish 2 H
-French 1

-Theology 1

-Personal Health & Wellness

-Suggestion: required tech elective
-Free 1st or 8th period

Semester 2

-World Geo
-World Geo H

-Suggestion: required art elective
-Free 1st or 8th period

Mock 10th Grade Schedule

 

English

Math

Science

Social Studies

World Language

Theology

Elective

Elective or Free Period

Semester 1

-English 2
-English 2 H

-Geometry
-Geometry H
-Algebra 2
-Algebra 2 H

-Chemistry
-Chemistry H

 

-World Hist
-World Hist H
-World Hist AP

 

-Spanish 2
-Spanish 2 H
-Spanish 3
-Spanish 3 H
-French 2
-French 2 H

 

-Theology 2

 

-Arg & Rhet H/ AP Seminar

-Suggestion: required art elective
-Free 1st or 8th period

Semester 2

-Suggestion: required art elective

-Elective of choice
-Free 1st or 8th period

Mock 11th Grade Schedule

 

English

Math

Science

Social Studies

World Language

Theology

Elective

Elective or Free Period

Semester 1

-Eng 3
-Eng 3 H DE
-Eng 3 AP

-Algebra 2
-Algebra 2 H
-PreCalc
-PreCalc H DE

-Engineer DE
-Astronomy
-Anatomy
-Anatomy H
-Bio AP
-Chem AP
-Physics
-Physics H
-Physics AP
-Enviro Sci AP

 

-US Hist
-US Hist H DE
-US Hist AP

-Spanish 3
-Spanish 3 H
-Spanish 4 H

-Span Lang AP
-Fren 3 H DE

-Theology 3
-Theology 3 H 

-Focus Sem H/ AP Seminar

-Suggestion: required art elective
-Free 1st or 8th period

Semester 2

-Philosophy H

-Elective of choice
-Free 1st or 8th period

Mock 12th Grade Schedule

 

English

Math

Science

Social Studies

Theology

Elective

Elective or Free Period

Elective or Free Period

Semester 1

-Eng 4
-Eng 4 H DE
-Eng 4 AP

 

 

-PreCalc
-PreCalc H DE
-Calc H
-Calc AB AP
-Calc BC AP
-Prob&Stats
-Stats AP

 

-Engineer DE
-Astronomy
-Anatomy
-Anatomy H
-Bio AP
-Chem AP
-Physics
-Physics H
-Physics AP
-Enviro Sci AP

 

-US Gov
-US Gov AP

-Theology 4
-Theology 4 H

-Capstone/ AP Research

 

-4th level World Language
-Elective of choice
-Free 1st or 8th period

-Elective of choice
-Free 1st or 8th period

Semester 2

-Econ
-Econ DE

 

-Suggestion: required PE elective

 

-4th level World Language
-Elective of choice
-Free 1st or 8th period

-Elective of choice
-Free 1st or 8th period

Lisa McMorrow
Director of Counseling 
Class of 2021, 2022, 2023                    Last Names A-D
480-634-8240                   https://calendly.com/lmcmorrow

Elizabeth Barnes
Counselor
Class of 2021   S-Z
Class of 2022-2023   R-Z   
480-634-8223         https://calendly.com/ebarnes2

Deanna Duermit
Counselor
Class of 2021   E-L
Class of 2022-2023   E-J
St. Thomas Aquinas Scholars Cohort 2024
480-634-8242                       https://calendly.com/dduermit 

Kristin Garcia
Counselor
Class of 2021   M-R
Class of 2022-2023   K-Q  
480-634-8215         https://calendly.com/kristingarcia

Lisa Lopez
Counselor
Class of 2024 A-Z
480-634-8230              https://calendly.com/llopez-3

Lindsay Cusano
Administrative Assistant/College Visit Coordinator
480-634-8239