In 2010 we started the Lawrence High Scholarship at our annual BASH and gave $100 to graduating senior Devante Jones. But in 2018, 84 year old Korean War vet Eugene Smith approached us with a $1,400 check asking if we could repurpose the scholarship for a member of the Lawrence High JrROTC. Of course, we accepted and designated this scholarship for a student going into the military.
This year, as we put out the call for donations on Facebook for this scholarship it looked as though our scholarship recipient Jaraliz Morales was going to be the highest scholarship amount ever, but the Coady supporters kept having their own fundraisers to make the Coady Scholarship the highest amount among all our scholarship winners this year.
Coming into the room on the night of the BASH, the Coady scholarship winner Cam Reiland had reached $10,000 in donations, while the total for Jaraliz Morales was at $9,465.
As we were presenting the giant check, Lawrence City Councilor Rich Russell handed us $35 to make Jaraliz’s total an even $9,500. What happened next stunned the crowd.
Eric Melanson who had just been elected president of the Lawrence High Alumni Association took the microphone away from Tom Duggan and announced that as the new president he was committing another $500 to this scholarship bringing the total to an even $10,000, tying Cam Reiland for the largest scholarship total in BASH history.
As Jaraliz and the Lawrence High supporters were celebrating, someone else took the microphone. “Hold on Tommy,” said Randy Carter from the John Ratka Memorial Scholarship (who had already donated $1,500 for this recipient).
“The John Ratka Memorial Scholarship can’t let this be a tie, so we are going to donate another $500 for Jaraliz to help her pay for college with a total of $10,500!”
Randy Carter is from Clear Path for Veterans New England and a previous John Ratka hero veterans award winner.
The hall erupted and Jaraliz’s parents celebrated forcing Valley Patriot publisher Tom Duggan to change the amount on the giant check to reflect the new donations (see right).
On hand to present the check for Jaraliz were State Auditor Diana DiZoglio, State Representatives Estela Reyes and Francisco Paulino, Lawrence Mayor Brian DePena, School Committee members Pat Mariano, Santiago Cruz, and Jonathan Guzman, as well as city councilors Marc Laplante, Celina Reyes, Rich Russell, Jeovanny Rodriguez, Stephanie Infante, and State Senator Pavel Payano.
Jaraliz “Jada” Morales is a senior at Lawrence High School who achieved the rank of Cadet LTC and is currently serving as the Battalion Commander of the Lancer Battalion.
Jada attends Lawrence Abbott Academy. She has a unique leadership style and is respected by all members of the battalion. Cadet LTC Morales is strict yet approachable.
She brought the unarmed drill team to victory this drill season winning 2 out of 3 competitions. This cadet is also part of the Lancer battalion step team and has performed for the last several years all over the Merrimack Valley. We are certain that she will be successful in anything she sets her mind to.
PREVIOUS RECIPIENTS: 2010-Davante Jones, Franklin Pierce University| 2011-Crismelys Ruiz, Lincoln Tech. Lowell – Med Asst.| 2012-Ambar Hussein-Martinez, Northern Essex| 2013-Thalia Garcia, Westfield State University: 2014 Sofia Cardenas and Ramses Jiminez Candelario | 2015 winners Christopher Pichardo & Caroline Garcia | 2016 winners Kevin Vanderhorst & Thu Dang. | 2017 Winners Christian Lantigua and Leslie Morerro, | 2018 Darlene Santos | 2019 Rachel Hiraldo | 2020 Camilla Herrera | 2021 COVID Hysteria | 2022 Katerin Ucles
DONORS TO THE EUGENE SMITH – LAWRENCE HIGH
JrROTC SCHOLARSHIP DONORS for JARALIZ MORALES
Francisco Paulino, Local #146 Lawrence Firefighters, ANONYMOUS, Denise Peaslee, David Consoli, Lawrence Vietnam Memorial, John Ratka Memorial Fund, Nairobi Tejeda, Danny Morales, Arisleidy Alejo, Yohanna Estevez, Griselda, New England Training Center, Yesenia Pepen, Marc Laplante, Hasmukh Vora Rt 110 Convenience, Jerry Santos, Sgt Major Barbara Marquez, Arisleidy Alejo, Jose Marte, Gary Bernard, Shawna Steuderman, Arisleidy Alejo, Angel Pascual Flores, Jim Denucio, Santiago Reyes Cruz Jr., Lenin Roa, Johnathan Guzman, Charleny Diaz, Pat Mariano, Patrick Ord, FH Cann, Estela Reyes, Artie Demoulas and the Demoulas Family, Lynn Parrino, Eugene Smith, Run for the Troops MA, Inc., John Ratka Memorial Fund, LHS Alumni – Eric Melanson, Rich Russell, Jose Caraballo.