Hope Ascough (’22)

Preparations continue for the 2022 High School Summer Program! Last week we introduced Dillon Raum (’21), the head men’s prefect for the California program. Today we are going to meet current senior Hope Ascough, who will be Dillon’s counterpart at the prefecting helm.

Hope comes to us all the way from the picturesque city of Dublin, Ireland. “Whether you’re feeling like a shockingly cold swim in the Irish Sea,” she tells us, “or a quick pop into the shops, you can easily walk to either from my front door!”

Hope herself participated in the 2017 California Summer Program, although it was with some trepidation that she undertook the almost 6,000-mile journey. “It was my first time ever flying alone; I was excited, nervous, and already slightly homesick.” But someone known to brave the waves of the brisk Irish Sea was not cowed by the daunting journey — and she was richly rewarded for her nerve.

“As soon as I reached the campus, where I was greeted by Mr. Daly and the prefects, I knew I had made a very good decision,” she says. She was enchanted by the classes and the recreation, and especially by the friendships these fostered. “Needless to say,” Hope laughs, “my homesickness went away!” Hope returned to the Summer Program as a prefect in 2021, and she is overjoyed to be doing so again.

All aspects of the program, but especially the friendships formed, are suffused with a special grace, and this is nowhere more evident than when the participants must say farewell. Somewhat paradoxically, that is Hope’s favorite moment. “These departures,” she says, “are a testimony to God’s ability to love us so profoundly through our friends, and to the fact that we are called to live together in Heaven. Saying goodbye at the end of the program is sad, but it is also one of the most joyful experiences, because it shows us that we are called to something more.”

When Hope finishes her senior year, she plans to work in education, as a response to Christ’s call to evangelize. “One of my big goals in life is to get experience setting up authentically Catholic and classical schools, and then to devise a model that does this efficiently and apply that model to as many schools as humanly possible.” Alongside this central passion, Hope is a spirited outdoor adventurer and cannot wait to explore the beautiful environs of the California campus with the friends she will make this summer.

The program is in very good hands, indeed!