“Be who you are and be that well.”

Wilmington, DE —

15-Michael_CrippenThis famous quote, attributed to Saint Francis de Sales, is a guiding force for all of the middle school students at Nativity Prep in Wilmington, Delaware. The theme recurs within school literature, on Nativity’s website, and is even emblazoned on the very walls of the school. Each day, Nativity students take those wise words to heart… and none more so than 8th grader Michael Crippen.

Michael started at the school as a young and impressionable 11 year old. Today, as the teen approaches graduation, he has emerged as a universally recognized leader among his classmates.

Of course, being a leader isn’t always easy.

Like any middle school student, Michael faces challenges – and choices – every day. “There’s always someone out there who wants you to do something that’s wrong,” he says. Resisting temptation, however, becomes a little easier when long-term goals are clearly defined. “I think about my future every day,” Michael explains. “Nativity taught me that.”

And in fact, Michael has learned many valuable life lessons at Nativity, right alongside his traditional English, Science and Math. This is due, in large part, to the focus and direction provided by the school. Nativity Prep is a prestigious, tuition-based, all-boys middle school which serves low-income young men in grades five through eight. The school is known for value formation, rigorous academic standards, and high expectations.

Certainly, life at Nativity isn’t all about work, however. In addition to a challenging academic course load, Michael makes time for fun, too. In the fall, he puts his leadership skills to the test as the quarterback of the Nativity football team. Each winter, he shines as the power forward on the currently undefeated Nativity basketball team. And, when asked to describe himself in three words he offers “Talented” and “Skilled” quickly, then pauses and adds a bit sheepishly… “Entertaining.” Michael admits that he often makes his teachers laugh out loud!

These varied experiences help round out an exceptional education, which was provided via a full tuition scholarship from the Leon N. Weiner Education Foundation. Michael’s education will stand him in good stead as he prepares for the next chapter in his life: high school. Upon graduation in June 2015, he will go on to attend St. Elizabeth High School, a rigorous college preparatory school, also located in Wilmington.

And, Michael says that he is looking forward to the change. Although he knows that the work will be harder and the challenges greater, he says simply, “I know I can do it.”

Your support of the Leon N. Weiner Education Foundation will help us assist other enthusiastic and dedicated students like Michael as we continue to expand our Scholarship Program.