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Lawrence: Estudiantes destacados reciben becas de la Union de Maestros de Lawrence

Por José Alfonso Garcia

Lawrence:By Keith Eddings keddings@eagletribune.com, Jun 14, 2017.

En una ciudad considerada una de las más pobres del estado ver a nuestros muchachos crecer, desarrollarse y triunfar académicamente es y siempre será una ocasión de gran jubilo, no solo para su familia; sino para la comunidad en su conjunto.

Estudiantes destacados que recibieron becas de la Union de Maestros de Lawrence el pasado miercoles 14 de Junio.

El pasado miércoles 14 de junio, la Unión de Maestros de Lawrence en la persona de su presidente, Sr. Francis MacLaughlin y directivos prominentes de la entidad, entregaron becas a los estudiantes más destacados de la promoción 2016-2017.
Editorial Week felicita a nuestros muchachos que llenan de esperanza de Progreso a toda una comunidad de inmigrantes.

Este importante evento fue cubierto magistralmente por el reportero Keith Edding del periódico Eagle Tribune el cual transcribimos en su totalidad en las páginas de Editorial Week:

LAWRENCE,  — Laura Gonzalez saw a challenge that might have daunted most high school juniors, but with her disabled right arm, she seized it. Seventeen years after she was born with brachial cerebral palsy, a disease that limited the motion of the arm and put her in a hospital for a series of painful treatments during much of her years in Lawrence schools, Gonzalez joined the school’s field hockey team as a defender.

“Everyone was really good,” she recalled about the skills – and encouragement — her teammates showed on the field. “They kept telling me, ‘You have to drop your stick more. You have to lower yourself more.’ I couldn’t move my stick anymore because I didn’t have the extension everyone else had.”

Gonzalez’s time on the team ended after half a season, when she underwent one more round of surgery on her shoulder, followed by months of so-called serial casting, when the casts on the arm are continually broken and replaced by other casts that locked her arm in different positions. It did little to restore motion. Gonzalez remains disabled.

But the defiance she showed by joining the field hockey team, and the other challenges she took on as the manager of the high school’s tennis team and in the honors and in the Advanced Placement courses she enrolled in despite her frequent absences for treatment, won her a $1,500 scholarship on Wednesday from the Lawrence Teachers Union.

Gonzalez will enroll at Fitchburg State University in the fall. She plans to earn a degree in nursing that she hopes will lead to a career providing care to others with developmental disabilities.

The union awarded $1,500 college scholarships to six high school students in all, including three that were reserved for the children of union members at Lawrence schools, who attended high schools in North Andover, Ayer and Danvers.

Another $1,500 scholarship was sponsored by Larry Hevey, the husband of Barbara Hevey, a former elementary teacher in Lawrence schools and the union’s former secretary. She died of cancer in 2009. A $1,000 scholarship was awarded by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

Other students who won scholarships Wednesday had other stories to tell about overcoming adversity, which differed from Gonzalez’s story only in the details.

For Madeline Morales, the challenge was in regaining her footing at Lawrence High after immigrating from the Dominican Republic in the middle of the school year two years ago. She came with little knowledge of English.

“The most important lesson I learned this year would be not to give up,” Morales said in her application for the scholarship. “Was it difficult? Yes. Did I want to give up at times? Absolutely. But those tests that I failed or the frustrations I encountered are the things that make me who I am. The harder I work for something, the better I feel once I achieve it.” Morales will be attending UMass Lowell, where she loans to major in biology in a pre-med program. She wants to be a pediatrician.

Others who received scholarships are:

Melaney Felix, who graduated with a 4.5 average achieved a perfect score in the Math MCAS, wrote for the high school newspaper and was secretary of the Student Government Association. She’ll attend Boston College;

Rosbeliz Valentin, who was a member of the high school’s championship cheerleading team and volunteered at Cor Unum, which operates a kitchen and dining hall on South Broadway that serves hundreds of meals daily to the poor. She’ll attend UMass Amherst;

Jadhina Lu, who was on the high school’s volleyball, track and softball teams. She won the Coaches’ Award for Softball in 2015, was a Merrimack Valley Conference All-Star for volleyball in 2016 and coached middle-school softball clinics. She’ll attend UMass Lowell;

· Ryan Martone, a graduate of Shirley Regina High School in Ayer. He’ll be attending UMass Amherst;

· Daniel Driscoll, a North Andover High School graduate. He’ll be attending Bryant University;

· Robert Gladden, a graduate of Danvers High School. He’ll be attending Sacred Heart University.

The eight scholarships totaled $11,500 and were awarded at the teachers union headquarters at the Relief’s In, in a ceremony the union organizes annually.

“Of all the things we do, this is my favorite,” union president Frank McLaughlin said when it ended. “By far.”

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