Catholic education valued: Siblings funding their tuition

Published 12:13 am Wednesday, December 27, 2017

LAPLACE — When Ethan and Ellie Nelson’s mother told them their family couldn’t afford tuition at St. Charles Catholic High School, they took matters into their own hands.

The siblings are investing in their future one odd job at a time through E&E Services, a business they started to pay for their Catholic education. Through the company, Ethan and Ellie perform services for people in the community, including but not limited to mowing lawns, baby-sitting, dog-sitting and cleaning and painting houses.

“If you have the tools and you want to teach us how to do it, we can do it,” Ethan said.

Religion teacher Ken Richard stands with Ellie and Ethan Nelson.

E&E Services began when current senior Ethan was a freshman. Ellie, now in her junior year, said they would continue running the business for years to come to pay tuition for their younger brother, Tank, who will join the SCC family next academic year.

Money earned from services also help offset Ethan’s and Ellie’s college costs.

“It was really important for us to have a Catholic education,” Ellie said, adding outside community service projects she and her brother perform through the company help them grow stronger in their faith.

On Christmas Eve, Ethan, Ellie, Tank and their mother, Wendy, partnered with the Angotti family of LaPlace to feed and warm the homeless population in New Orleans.

As part of the project, Ethan and Ellie collected items and monetary donations from schools, businesses, organizations and people around the Parish to provide more than 200 homeless people with simple comforts and necessities.

From a monetary standpoint, the duo collected $500. Item donations were still coming in as of Thursday afternoon, and Ellie said they had well over 200 blankets and an abundance of Band-Aids and hygiene products.

The siblings thanked the SCC family, especially the cheerleaders and football moms, for contributing toiletries and blankets.

Riverside Academy, St. Peter Catholic School, Ascension of Our Lord School, St. Joan of Arc, local Knights of Columbus councils, businesses including Poetic Smiles dentistry and other individuals in the community were instrumental to the success of the project, Ethan said.

Ellie said she and Ethan were touched by the idea of showing kindness to homeless people who miss out on the joys of the holidays.

“I just want to tell them ‘Merry Christmas,’” Ellie said. “I’m sure they don’t hear that every year. They probably don’t get a lot of nice human contact.”

Religion teacher Ken Richard said Ethan and Ellie are shining examples for the types of individuals faculty and staff hope to foster. He said the siblings are the hands through which God does His work, and their contributions make the world a better place.

“This is not something that the school told them to do,” Richard said.

“This is something that they did out of the very deep heart that they both have. I’m deeply impressed by both of them and pleased to have had a hand in both of their educations.”

Richard said service is one of the most important components of St. Charles Catholic’s mission, which also promotes academics, faith and extracurricular activities.

Ethan said their service work started with volunteer jobs while at St. Peter, including cleaning, raising money for the church and promoting school plays.

Of the countless service projects they have been a part of, the one that sticks out the most is when they spent hours removing rocks from a yard because it represents the moment they realized anything worthwhile in life requires hard work.

E&E Services is advertised through word-of-mouth and on Facebook. For more information, call 985-817-1319 or email