Crossroads Scholar preparing for success

Central Catholic’s Bryce Matthews at his summer internship.

The Crossroads Foundations in Pittsburgh is helping more promising young people like Bryce Matthews get a quality Catholic high school education while preparing them for success in college, and in life.

Matthews, a rising senior at Central Catholic High School, mentored freshmen last year and completed an internship this summer.

“Crossroads has made a major difference for me,” he said. “They’ve given me the tools and reassurance I need in applying for college, internships and jobs.”

Matthews made the comments during an interview with Father Tom Burke on Catholic Education Plus, airing Sunday, Aug. 1 at 6:30 a.m. on KDKA Radio. It will be available later online at:

“Summer internships are always a great experience,” said executive director Esther Mellinger Stief, who joined Matthews on the program. “Students are assigned a project and learn about a field.”

Crossroads provides professional mentoring, with volunteers meeting with young scholars to talk about their careers. Coaches also work one-on-one with seniors on the college admissions process, which Stief says can be daunting. This summer, more than a dozen high school students are taking college courses at CCAC, including Matthews.

Crossroads Foundation began in 1988 with 11 students. Today, 155 scholars are enrolled in six Catholic high schools in the diocese, and the organization is connected with over 650 alumni. Many have gone on to become attorneys, doctors, pharmacists and teachers.

Acceptance into the program is based on family income, a student’s potential, and obstacles that might interfere with a student’s academic pursuits. Significant risk factors include poverty, neighborhoods with poorly performing public schools, and personal circumstances.

“Our best recruiters are our parents,” Stief said. “They bring other parents to Crossroads, and help set our scholars up for success.”

When the pandemic struck, Crossroads did an emergency funding drive for their families and distributed gift cards.

“We realized if their immediate needs weren’t met, nothing else mattered,” Stief said.

Matthews is following in the footsteps of his brother Isaiah, who attends Waynesburg University. Bryce Matthews is also looking at colleges in the area, and hopes to study software development. He appreciate the opportunities he has at Central Catholic, thanks to Crossroads.

“It’s been very enlightening,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot, including about myself.”

You can find out more about opportunities through the Crossroads Foundation here: