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South Arbor Charter Academy Scholar Earns Prestigious College Scholarship, One of Four Nationally

One South Arbor Charter Academy scholar ended the school year with a surprise: He was the recipient of a $5,000 college scholarship. Chosen from hundreds of applicants who hail from more than 90 National Heritage Academies (NHA) partner-schools, Liam Certo was one of four rising scholars to receive the award through NHA’s CollegeBound™ Scholarship Program.
“It is my great pleasure to congratulate this year’s class of CollegeBound™ Scholarship winners,” said NHA President and CEO Brian Britton. “To hear these scholars’ stories of courage and perseverance is inspiring, and to see the impact our educators have had in encouraging their success is uplifting – it’s the tangible outcome of education transforming lives in the communities we serve.”

 Liam Certo CollegeBound Scholarship winner
Liam Certo – 2022 CollegeBound™ Scholarship winner

Liam shared that it was his school’s caring educators and character-based focus on education through Moral Focus virtues that inspired him to dream of a career as a civil engineer designing city landscapes.
In his essay on the CollegeBound™ Scholarship application Liam explained that he didn’t always feel confident in the classroom, or that a math-based career was possible; but caring and supportive teachers encouraged him and his passion for learning began to blossom.
“At my old school, I was afraid to dream of a career using math because I was taught to believe that I wasn't good at it. I was convinced that I couldn't learn; that the concepts were beyond me. But when I got to South Arbor, I noticed a shift in atmosphere. Moral Focus virtues were not only upheld, they were celebrated.
“When I asked a question in…math class, I was answered with enthusiasm and kindness. My curiosity piqued, and I developed a passion for learning,” he said.
Principal Kim Bondy and Middle School Dean Sandy Avery-Buczek shared that Liam is a role model with the heart of a volunteer. “He has served as a role model in how hardworking he is as well as how he exemplifies all of NHA’s Moral Focus virtues. Liam is always striving to push himself academically, oftentimes asking for more challenging work.”
The CollegeBound™ Scholarship Program is managed by an independent program administrator. Scholarship considerations include academic performance, community involvement, and a written essay. Through the application process, scholars can share about the experiences that have shaped them and the people who have influenced their lives – from community service to the real-world application of Moral Focus virtues to defining moments in the decision to pursue a STEM-based education.
Funding for the scholarship is provided through NHA employee contributions, people who believe in NHA’s mission to help every child achieve their dreams.
About South Arbor Charter Academy
South Arbor Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Ypsilanti, Michigan, serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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