PARK HILLS, Ky. - Singing can be heard throughout the Covington Catholic gymnasium. But it's not a typical Thursday morning mass—it's a day of healing, honoring one but giving others the chance at an education.
Music can heal—with its words, its melody and its meaning.
CovCath's music director, Jim Wolfe believes it's healed his students after a tragic loss.
In 2010, one of their own, Maria Schaffstein of Notre Dame High School--CovCath's sister school--was on her way home from spring break when she died in a car crash.
"She was a very, very happy person. She, it's hard to find a picture without her smiling in it. She loved her friends. She loved her family. She loved going to concerts. She loved soccer and… (She loved life.) She did," said her mom and dad, Eileen and John Schaffstein of the 17-year-old.
Wolfe saw his students grieving an unimaginable loss.
"When the funeral mass for Maria was over, I think it was the one funeral that I've been at where no one wanted to leave. They just didn't want it to be over. They couldn't believe how final it was."
That's when Wolfe decided to keep her memory alive with a tribute CD "To Where You Are."
"We have to do something, as little as it may be and sure it's not going to bring Maria back--it's not going to change what happened but at the same time, the CovCath community, the Notre Dame community was grieving and I just felt that through music, we could in some way help the community heal."
Little did he know, that healing process would lead to raising more than $10,000, selling more than 1,000 copies—helping others' dreams come true.
And that's why her parents were at Thursday's morning mass at CovCath. The Maria Schaffstein Memorial Scholarship was announced.
"It's hard to put into words what today meant. Maria would be overwhelmed to know that all these people still are talking about her and we are too. It's amazing that still to this day, that everybody's still helping us get through it. Every day gets a little easier, but it never goes away—but everyone still remembers her and it's really nice," said John and Eileen.
Maria attended St. Agnes for grade school, then Notre Dame High School and she was going to go on to the University of Dayton once she would have graduated.
"She really did know how blessed she was. And she would be very happy that other people will be able to have the same type of opportunities that she did," said her mom.
She and Maria's father love the CD.
"Unbelievable. (Yes, yes... beautiful.) It's actually quite difficult to listen to sometimes (it is, it is). We have to truly have some special time to be, because it's that moving."
They can't thank the chamber choir enough for what they did for their own healing.
"What these boys have give to us. What they were willing to do on their own time is truly amazing and it's an incredible group of people over here."