West Roxbury, Mass.-- When Boston University awarded Catholic Memorial School valedictorian Anthony Consigli its four-year, full-tuition Cardinal Medeiros Scholarship last month, the honor reminded Anthony of an old saying his mother taught him at a young age.
“[My mom’s] favorite quote was from Mother Theresa,” said Anthony, a Medway resident.
“She’d tell me, ‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can all do small things with great love.’”
Every year BU awards its Cardinal Medeiros Scholarship to seniors from Catholic parochial schools in the Archdiocese of Boston who exemplify outstanding academic achievements, demonstrate leadership skills, and overall contributions to their schools and local communities according to the university website. In memory of Cardinal Humberto Sousa Medeiros, a man who dedicated his life advocating for marginalized immigrants, the scholarship befits Anthony’s dedication to small acts of love inside and outside the classroom.
“Your achievements speak volumes about your talent, drive, and commitment to your studies,” wrote Mr. John C. McEachern, Director of Admissions at Boston University, in a letter to Anthony.
“Boston University will provide you with unlimited opportunities to build on those achievements and to make a lasting impact on your community and the world.”
Anthony’s long list of academic achievements speaks for itself. Each year from 2014 to 2018, Anthony received the General Excellence President’s Award for maintaining the highest grade point average in his class. CM awarded him its Excellence in Historical Writing and Research Award and later awarded him the Brown University Book Award during his junior year.
But, in the likeness of Cardinal Medeiros, Anthony values the service he commits to his community most. In his service, he learned to appreciate those little acts of love his mother preached. It all started in the seventh grade when he participated in CM’s Blessed Edmund Rice Solidarity Initiative (BERSI) to Wyoming. He attended another BERSI trip during his freshman year at the high school, this time traveling to Lima, Peru. In Peru, Anthony built homes for the urban poor on the outskirts of Lima and left with a new idea of what it means to serve.
“To me, service means doing something for someone who can never repay you,” said Anthony.
“It doesn’t take huge acts of service to leave an impression on the life of somebody else.”
After his experience in Peru, Anthony began volunteering at his father’s non-profit Medals for Angels. Later, his participation in the CM Peer Ministry program allowed him to oversee and coordinate fundraising efforts totaling $15,000 across various mission-related causes. This commitment to service culminated in his senior service project at St. Jude Parish in Norfolk. There, he assisted The Santa Foundation at St. Jude’s Parish in organizing and allocating donated gifts to families in need during the Holiday season.
Before leaving CM this spring, Anthony left behind a final gift for the CM community when he served as the rector of CM’s inaugural Kairos retreat. He called the retreat, rooted in the spirit of Jesuit reflection, a life-changing experience that provided the CM community with an open space for contemplative discussion.
“Anthony is a remarkably courageous young man,” said Mr. Johnny Steichen, who attended the retreat and served as Anthony’s senior year theology teacher.
“He is courageous not in the traditional sense, but he is openly willing to share who he is, both his struggles and successes. He represents the new wave of healthy masculinity that we need in today’s world.”
Anthony’s conscientious spirit played a huge role in his college decision. When deciding on which colleges to apply to this winter, Anthony believes that his college counselor, Ms. Rachel Kaplan, allowed him to find the best fit for his unique skillset and passion for serving others.
“The relationship I formed with Ms. Kaplan helped me understand what I wanted in a college,” said Anthony.
“I had previously known about the Cardinal Medeiros scholarship at BU. But, Ms. Kaplan helped me choose BU because of how their program fit me, not the money attached to it.”
Known as Beyond CM, CM’s college counseling program fosters a strong relationship between student and counselor. The student writes their own Discernment Paper during their junior year theology class, giving the counselor insight into how the student connects his faith, aspirations, and achievements into long-term academic goals. The counselor then determines a best college fit and offers personalized instruction on how to arrive at their ideal match.
From their conversations together, Anthony and Ms. Kaplan created a list that highlighted what he wanted most out of his college experience. Their collective discernment steered Anthony into the direction of a school in the middle of the city, close to home, and not too big or too small. But, most of all, he wanted a strong and developed research program to integrate his love of environmental science and biology with serving the greater community.
BU’s Kilachand Honors Program checked each of these boxes according to Anthony.
“BU gives me a chance to integrate my environmental and medical interests in an interdisciplinary context,” said Anthony, who plans to enroll as an environmental science major with a pre-med concentration.
“How does environmental issues affect human health? How can we integrate both and find a solution to help both without harming the other? These are the questions I want to solve in my four years at BU.”
An April Luncheon for BU’s accepted honors students further validated Anthony’s decision. He noticed what he called “a parallel” between CM’s Scholars Program and the structure of the university’s honors program. According to him, his senior capstone project Who Am I? A Literary Analysis of Identity in Young Adult Literature in the CM Scholars Program modeled the same capstone theses presented at the luncheon.
Those who taught Anthony see a future full of success for him on the horizon. When they speak about his character, they describe a young man who serves as a role model needed in tomorrow’s world.
“Anthony Consigli is one of the most dedicated and driven students that I’ve ever encountered in a classroom setting,” added Ms. Sheila Hufnagle, Anthony’s AP Biology teacher.
“It gives me joy to see all his work pay off. I mean it when I say that he was a true blessing to have in class.”