About Onward Scholars

"Dream Big and always move ONWARD!"


The Onward Scholars Program promotes academic excellence, fosters an environment conducive to genuine peer support, exposes students to leadership opportunities that instill a love of service, and empowers goal-driven young men and women by providing resources that build skills for their path to higher education and lives of purpose.


The Onward Scholars Program attracts students leaders from the communities served by St. Pius X- St. Matthias Academy to provide them and their families with a solid bridge to a college education by exposing Scholars to opportunities that instill a love of service and empowers them to be confident leaders on and off campus.

Onward Scholars at St. Pius X- St. Matthias Academy receives not only the support services the school provides, but also works 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 PMA, 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 available in the Application Process section, accessible on the right margin of this page! For information about Onward Scholars, please contact:

Ms. Melissa Turcios, Program Director




Where are our scholars going to school?

A St. Matthias alumna, Ms. Melissa Turcios is proud to return to her alma mater as the Onward Scholars Program Director. Ms. Turcios was awarded the Posse Foundation Scholarship, and received her B.A. in Spanish Literature and Linguistics with a minor in Education from Dickinson College. She then pursued her passion for mentoring youth as a Language and Culture Ambassador in Madrid, Spain. In addition to teaching secondary students, she served as the College and Career Advisor to candidates for graduation. Ms. Turcios is excited to introduce students to the myriad of opportunities available to them, and assist students in making informed decisions about their college and career path. 

A Los Angeles native, Ms. Turcios returned home to receive her Master’s in Education from Pepperdine University. At Pepperdine, she helped lead a college access program which addressed the academic and wellness needs of high school foster youth and their families. Most recently, Ms. Turcios served as an Admission Counselor at Loyola Marymount University, where she led diversity recruitment and outreach initiatives. 

Ms. Turcios is excited to join St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy in supporting student’s whole-self-development and promote life-long learning.  As a first-generation graduate, she is passionate in supporting and counseling students in accessing higher education to become engaged community leaders, and encouraging students to DREAM BIG!