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Saint Joseph Hill AcademyUnder the Direction of the Daughters of Divine Charity

Alumna Secures Donation of $450,000 to Establish “The Costa Family Scholarship Fund”

Ms. Constance Costa, a consummate educator and St. Joseph Hill Academy “Lifer” (E ‘61; HS ’65), had a calling to provide opportunities for the undeserved and disenfranchised. Professionally educated as a school counselor and administrator, Ms. Costa has always been an advocate for students who struggled academically and emotionally in “traditional” schools and therefore found themselves seeking alternative options.  

Ms. Costa discovered her life’s work when she became the President of the Board of Trustees and CFO of the Francis School in 1984.   The Francis School was a high school founded by the Franciscan Friars in 1974 and housed in their building on Todt Hill.   In 1980, the Franciscans turned the school over to a lay Board of Trustees and the school moved to Stapleton. In 1985, Ms. Costa purchased property on Amboy Road and supervised the construction of a new building at 4240 Amboy Road which opened in 1988. 

In January, 2016, Ms. Costa made the difficult decision to close the Francis School.  However, she did not abandon her mission to help students who needed a chance to achieve their dreams.  In June, 2020, she managed to direct a donation of $450,000 to St. Joseph Hill Academy to establish The Costa Family Scholarship Fund. The funds have been designated for scholarships and to provide financial assistance for Hill High school students.  The fund may also be used to support scholarships for Hill’s elementary school students, curriculum enhancement, and other special projects.  

The Costa Family Scholarship Fund provides a $5,000.00 partial scholarship (one-half yearly tuition) to one Freshman each year.  The recipient will receive this scholarship for all four years of her education at Hill if she meets the application guidelines, which include maintaining a minimum 85 average in each award year with no failures, remaining in good disciplinary standing, and demonstrating financial need. Above all the recipient must be firmly committed to her four-year education at Hill.  This year’s recipient of The Costa Family Scholarship, Bianca Gastaldi, expressed her heartfelt gratitude, "I am sincerely honored and feeling so blessed to be the recipient of The Costa Family Scholarship. There aren’t enough words to thank you for your generous support, which is allowing me to have the best education at St. Joseph Hill Academy High School. I hope to one day be able to give to other students in the generous way you have given to me.” 

Sr. Mary Coffelt, President of St. Joseph Hill Academy and Provincial Superior of the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Charity, thanked Ms. Costa for her generosity and support.  “Words cannot begin to express my sincerest thanks for your leadership and dedication within the field of education and for your generous donation to St. Joseph Hill Academy, as a cherished alumna.  Ms. Costa thank you for igniting the flame, and establishing The Costa Family Scholarship Fund, during our 100th Anniversary celebration of Saint Joseph Hill Academy under the direction of the Daughters of Divine Charity.  Our ministry of education is ensured for future generations by your generosity which will assist in providing scholarship and financial assistance to families seeking a Catholic education.  Thank you for giving back to your alma mater and for making a difference in the lives of our students.” 

Gratitude for this generous donation was echoed by High School principal, Mrs. Maria Molluzzo.  According to Mrs. Molluzzo, “We are thankful to the Costa Family for giving students the opportunity to receive the excellent Catholic education St. Joseph Hill Academy Elementary and High School provided them with; an education that they feel influenced their lives, academically, socially, and spiritually.” 

In response to Hill’s call for assistance during the pandemic, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Costa and Dr. Lauren Costa and husband Eric Johnstone generously donated 45 televisions to the school in support of our efforts to ensure that we can deliver synchronous education throughout the COVID 19 crisis and beyond.  These televisions have been installed in every instructional classroom throughout the Academy in support of hybrid learning.  Children at home and in alternative classroom spaces throughout the building are now able to watch live instruction every day via these televisions. 

Mr. Lawrence Hansen, Principal of the Elementary school also expressed his gratitude, “The generous donation of the televisions will help to enhance the remote and distance learning that is taking place daily in our school by allowing our teachers to see their students and interact with them virtually during the day.”

St. Joseph Hill Academy is extremely grateful to benefactors like Ms. Costa and her family who so generously support our educational programs and share our commitment of excellence in learning for our students.  

Thank you Ms. Costa!  Your generous support means a great deal to our students and their families who have chosen St. Joseph Hill Academy. 

Ms. Costa's generous donation was also featured in the Staten Island Advance linked here

If you are interested in creating your own legacy of generosity, pride and support and would like to establish your own named Scholarship at St. Joseph Hill Academy or support our educational initiatives in some way, please contact Dr. Elizabeth Basile, ebasile@stjhill.org or call (718-447-1374 Ext. 9163).