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Onward Scholars » About Onward Scholars

About Onward Scholars

The application deadline for Cohort I of Onward Scholars was January 12.  
Best of luck to all applicants!
  • notification of applicant status=evening of Saturday, January 20 (via email & US mail)
  • group interviews for semifinalists= Saturday, January 27 (1-4 PM)
  • individual interviews for finalists=Saturday, February 3 (times TBA)
  • notification of SMA admissions, financial aid, & Onward Scholars notification=Friday, March 2

 Dream Big, Future Belles!

There is no force equal to a woman determined to rise.  W.E.B. DuBois

About Onward Scholars

St. Mary's Academy is excited to announce that, through the generosity of The John H. and Cynthia Lee Smet Foundation, 12 Belles from the Class of 2022 will make up Cohort I of Onward Scholars at SMA! 

The mission of the Onward Scholars Program is to promote academic excellence, foster an environment conducive to genuine peer support, expose students to leadership opportunities that instill a love of service, and empower goal-driven young women by providing resources that build skills for their path to higher education and lives of purpose.

Onward Scholars at St. Mary’s Academy receive not only the support services the school provides, but also work closely with the onsite Onward Scholars Program Director to receive mentoring, financial support, and access to programs that prepare students for the college application and matriculation process.  In addition to a scholarship for 75% of tuition costs to SMA, each Scholar has access to a maximum of a $2,000 stipend over the four years from the Smet Foundation that the Program Director administers to offset the cost of activities or programs in line with the mission of Onward Scholars (e.g., summer college programs, test prep). 

To apply to be an Onward Scholar, you must be among the top students in your graduating class (with the target minimum cumulative GPA being a 3.5 during your middle school tenure) and have demonstrated leadership in your school and/or community. Additional requirements are outlined to the right in the "Application Process" section.

The Onward Scholars Program application is now available in the Application Process section, accessible on the right margin of this page!  For information about Onward Scholars, please contact:

Mrs. Michele Rice, Program Director

(310) 674-8470 x303


Mrs. Michele Rice
Program Director

Michele Rice proudly joins the SMA staff as the Program Director for Onward Scholars. Through the generosity of The Smet Foundation, Belles accepted into the program will receive a four-year scholarship to fund 75% of their tuition. Scholars will meet with Mrs. Rice on a regular basis to receive support pursuing academic and personal goals through mentoring, access to college workshops, life skills education, and community service opportunities. 
The first cohort of 12 Onward Scholars will be enrolling at SMA in the Fall of 2018. Mrs. Rice will be working closely with the admissions team at SMA to market the program to prospective Belles at partner middle schools and community youth programs.


Mrs. Rice holds both a Tier I Administrative Services Credential and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University in addition to a Master of Science in School Counseling and a Pupil Personnel Services Credential from CSU Northridge. Prior to joining the St. Mary’s community, Mrs. Rice was blessed to gain over 20 years of invaluable experience in Catholic high school administration, teaching, student services, and admissions. She is passionate about building leadership capacity in students and looks forward to partnering with the SMA staff to help our young women reach their potential.