Watch our Honoree and In Memoriam videos!
Carole Kearns was the embodiment of a Verbum Dei Adopt-A-Student Parent. Her heart was big, she embraced the school and its mission. Whenever Verbum Dei had an Adopt-A-Student event, Carole would be there early so she could help set up. Carole adored her students and took the time to learn their interests and even their birthdays so she could celebrate with them from afar. Carole even sent Christmas gifts to her students and took time to write very thoughtful and detailed letters, so they knew she was always thinking about them and cheering them on. Other students would often say, “Why can’t she be our Adopt-A-Student sponsor!?!” Carole set the bar high for all other Adopt-A-Student Parents to measure themselves by. We loved Carole Kearns!! And, her memory will not soon fade. Yet, Carole’s abundant heart will live on through The Carole Kearns Adopt-A-Student Scholarship Fund.
In 2018, Mark Wood discovered Verbum Dei and quickly began supporting its mission. And, when Mark gets behind a cause, he’s all in. Not only did Mark and his wife, Sharon, have a salon in their home to benefit student scholarships. Mark encouraged American Martyrs Church to hire Verbum Dei students to intern in their offices, which opened the door to a beautiful new relationship with American Martyrs Church and Verbum Dei High School. Mark even offered to join the Verbum Dei’s Development Committee, as he was instrumental in assisting Verbum Dei in receiving two of the school’s largest donations in 2020. In Mark’s short time with Verbum Dei, he made an immediate commitment and significant impact on the Verb community at large. He will be missed. Yet, his generous spirit will be remembered and have a lasting impact on the school through The Mark Wood Scholarship Fund.
In 2010, when both Nick Osborne and Trevor Engelson, were owners of Underground, they found Verbum Dei High School and quickly got involved—creating a speaker series, co-moderating the film club, and soon becoming Corporate Work Study Partners. They’ve even hosted a salon at Nick’s home to raise funds for scholarships and film equipment. Yet, even more, every Wednesday for almost 12 years, Nick and Trevor would drive from Hollywood to Watts to co-moderate the film club in the middle of the afternoon. The commitment is real. Their goal is to open doors and give access to these amazingly talented students to a world they believe is beyond their reach. And, Nick and Trevor deliver—two Verb Alumni are currently employed as professional screenwriters, with one of them working with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions. Never satisfied, Nick and Trevor started another film club at St. Mary’s Academy, our sister school in Inglewood, and a film club at our Cristo Rey School in Atlanta. Nick and Trevor embody “men with and for others.” They care about our students deeply and want the world to see their stories. Verbum Dei feels blessed to honor Nick and Trevor for all they do and the legacies they will leave and to honor them we have started the Trevor Engelson and Nick Osborne Scholarship Fund.
In 2018, Stephen Privett S.J., became the 5th president of Verbum Dei High School. He brought with him a wealth of knowledge as the past president of the University of San Francisco and the vice president of Santa Clara University. Under Steve’s leadership Verbum Dei has experienced the highest fundraising levels in the history of the school as well as the Cristo Rey Network; increasing top-tier college acceptance rates; highest retention rates in both high school and college; and higher GPA’s, all in the middle of a pandemic, economic downturn, and localized civil unrest. Steve has been focused on continuous improvement in every area of the school through the development of a mission review; a comprehensive strategic priority planning process; and a schoolwide climate survey and response. He has been the right leader at the right time and the school and the community are better for it. However, this year, Steve is celebrating his 50th anniversary of ordination, turns 80 years young, and is now looking for a new challenge. And so, it is our sincere pleasure to honor a great man, leader, and friend, as he will be dearly missed. However, Steve’s presence will still be felt at Verb and the Watts community through the Stephen Privett S.J. Scholarship Fund for Verbum Dei Students.
Since entering Verbum Dei in 2018, the class of 2022 has diligently applied themselves to their course work, their work study jobs, their personal development, and their quest to become men for others. In their junior year they have had to give it their all while learning remotely and mindfully prepare themselves for their senior year. 72% of the Class of 2022 are first generation college students however just as the 13 graduating classes preceding them, a 100% college acceptance was once again reached!