John Paul II High School junior Charlotte Blank has been named the 26th annual recipient of the Hal Tehan Scholar Award.
Each year, all local Catholic high schools may nominate a junior student who exemplifies Catholic values, actively participates, contributes to the community and is generally in the top five percent of his or her class.
As the top honoree, Charlotte will receive a $10,000 scholarship for her senior year and each of the seven other nominees will receive a $2,500 scholarship.
Hal Tehan was a man fully dedicated to his faith and community. Following his death, The Catholic Foundation Scholar Award was renamed The Hal Tehan Scholar Award in honor of the late Foundation leader, donor and friend to many in the Dallas area.
Charlotte, daughter of Melissa and Devin Blank of Allen, will receive the award and share her essay on the importance of receiving a Catholic education during the 40th annual Catholic Foundation Award dinner Feb. 4 at the Hilton Anatole. The Blanks are parishioners at Prince of Peace Catholic Community in Plano.
The middle of two sisters, Charlotte serves in multiple leadership roles at JPII including junior class president, JPII Ambassador and JPII Honor Council.
She is also a three-year member of the JPII cheerleading squad, a two-year member of the women’s lacrosse team and member of the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica.
Outside of school, Charlotte is president of her National Charity League Class of 2024 where she earned the Yellow Rosebud Award for completing more than 50 hours of community service during the 2021-2022 NCL year.
She is also a squad leader as a volunteer for The Storehouse of Collin County and volunteer for Minnie’s Food Pantry, the North Texas Performing Arts and Feed My Starving Children.
“I believe wholeheartedly that my Catholic education has been one of the greatest gifts I could have ever received,” she wrote in her essay. “My faith-based community - my home away from home - and my Catholic school family has provided me with opportunities to make a difference in this world by giving me the tools to succeed in all of my scholastic and philanthropic endeavors.
“For many students, school is simply the place they go for eight hours a day, five days a week,” she added. “For me, school is everything. It is a sanctuary, not just for learning, but where I am nurtured as an individual. Catholic education is my foundation and my rock.”
JPII principal Kayla Brown says Charlotte demonstrates an incredible work ethic, leadership and offers a calming presence that brings peace to any situation.
“There may be many students who are involved like Charlotte, but the difference in her is that she chooses organizations where she can consistently serve others,” she said. “She does nothing for herself or for her own ambition. She puts Jesus at the center of her decisions and genuinely wants to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ on this earth.”
Charlotte says her parents are her role models and she loves spending time with her older sister Mia, a senior at JPII, and younger sister, Sophie, a six grader at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic School.
During the school week, she most prizes her Monday morning worship and praise time in the JPII chapel with fellow Cardinals. Inside the chapel, she enjoys hearing the sound of joyful singing and guitars strumming while light shines into the windows near the courtyard.
Her favorite worship and praise song that heads up her Spotify playlist is “Every Giant Will Fall” by Rend Collective. The song resonates with her because it speaks to how all things are possible through Christ and serves as a reminder of God’s strength and power.
“One day, it really hit me that this was a calming way to spend 20 minutes of my school week,” she said. “School can be stressful but starting my week with 20 minutes - not for me, my friends or drama - but just worshipping our Lord helps me recenter and refocus.”
Charlotte is honored to be the newest Hal Tehan Scholar Award recipient.
“When I got the call, I was in such shock and so honored to be recognized by my peers and the people I look up to in life,” she said. “I was so touched and felt like it was a pat on the back from God that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s motivating to serve, and I look forward to doing more. I’m even more motivated to continue down the path that God has laid out for me and feel so thankful and blessed.”
About the Catholic Foundation
The Catholic Foundation is a trusted giving vehicle for the Catholic community. Chartered in 1955, the Foundation was founded by a group of dedicated Catholic laymen with a vision that extended far beyond the charitable needs of the moment. The Foundation has spent decades building a strong community, helping donors fulfill their charitable goals, and preserving the founders’ vision and philanthropic legacy. Over time, the Foundation has provided more than $265 million in grants to religious, educational and charitable organizations. In 2022, The Catholic Foundation gave $19.4 million through more than 2,500 grants impacting more than 830 organizations. The Foundation houses more than 500 charitable funds and trusts. For additional information about The Catholic Foundation, call 972-661-9792 or visit www.catholicfoundation.com.