William Shurley, 16, of St. Frederick Catholic High School in Monroe, Louisiana, founded Adopt-A-Student Ministries, a student-run organization which pairs religious schools with area churches to encourage congregants to sponsor elementary students who cannot afford their school fees. After reading an article about a Christmas giving tree that provided gifts for the needy, William decided to modify the idea to benefit those children who were unable to pay school fees. He began by convincing his church to partner with his former elementary school.
Administrators at the school then prepared anonymous sponsorship forms for each needy child and made them available during church services to interested congregants. From that first church/school pairing two years ago, which sponsored 17 students, the Adopt-A-Student
Ministries has grown to four pairings and 100 students sponsored. "It is now truly one of my main goals in life to further this ministry into a national outreach someday," Will said. He has recruited fellow students to join him in his efforts, who are now members of the board of directors of the Adopt-A-Student Ministries.