The Valley Patriot newspaper granted two, $600 scholarships at the 12th Anniversary BASH last month thanks to the sponsors and advertisers of the paper.
Valley Patriot publisher Tom Duggan told the crowd that originally the scholarship award was $400, “but thanks to our platinum sponsors Kevin Leach, Joe Zingales of Team Zingales-Remax and Mike Agricola, owner of Salvatore’s Restaurant in Lawrence, we are increasing the award tonight to $500. Also, we got a check from our good friend John Saro of Pentucket Medical whom I know this table of veterans over here know well, because he takes care of our veterans, he wrote us a check made out to the Lawrence High School Alumni Associaion for $200 so tonight we are adding $100 to each student’s scholarship for books.”
The Lawrence High School Jr. ROTC presented colors as the room quieted down and Chris Eldredge of the Lawrence High School Alumni Association took the microphone.
“Five years ago, I called up Tommy and I said hey the Lawrence High School Alumni Association is having its annual banquet,” Eldredge said. “‘We would like you to come and cover the event.’ He said, ‘What do you do?’ I said, ‘we have dinner for the scholarship winners and their families and we give out scholarships. He said ‘OK.’”
“Then he said, ‘wait a minute’. I heard some rummaging around in the background, and he said ‘Hey, I just scraped up $100, can I get a scholarship?’ I said, ‘sure.’”
“So, Tommy came and he gave the scholarship, and the winner was so happy that he got $100 from Tommy that he sent Tommy his transcripts after his first semester. I thought that was great. These kids are so grateful. So, Tom told me after, ‘I’m gonna keep doing this every year, and if I can, I’m going to raise the amount I give each year.’ The next year we had another winner and he gave $200. Now tonight, 5 years later, apparently he’s giving two scholarships for $400 each, and he just raised it to $500, maybe $600. So thank you very much Tommy!”
“When I asked Tommy that first year, I said well, what are you looking for in a student. I asked, ‘do you want a journalism major?’ He said ‘no.’ ‘Do you want somebody with great grades?’ He said ‘no.’ I asked, ‘what are you looking for?’ He said, ‘I want somebody who stands out, that the teachers, and the administrators respect, someone that the other students look up to. I want a kid who works hard and is creative and someone people look up to.’”
“So, what we have been doing for the last five years is calling the administration at Lawrence High, this year we spoke with Tim Finn, the Assistant Headmaster, and we found our two winners.”
“Tonight I’m going to tell you about them.”
“Kevin Vanderhorst is a senior in the Math, Science and Technology High School at Lawrence High. He moved to Lawrence from the Dominican Republic 2 years ago with his parents for a better educational opportunity. He has immersed himself in his academics and sports, specifically basketball, among other activities. Since Kevin’s arrival to Lawrence High School, he has managed to maintain excellent grades earning a GPA of 3.8 due in part to his hard work but mainly because of his intelligence and motivation. He is a role model and is well liked by his teachers and his peers. Kevin will be the first in his family to attend college and looks forward to a successful future in the field of Business Administration.”
“Thu Dang came from Vietnam with her mother when she was three years old. Thu will be studying Food Science at Framingham State University in the fall. Here at Lawrence High School, Thu is part of the Yearbook Staff, Prom Committee, Student Council and the Girl Scouts. Thu is also a part of the Youth Development Organization here in the city and taught middle schoolers about nutrition during the Science Olympiad. She would like to work for a non-profit organization that teaches children about nutrition and taking care of themselves.”
“And I never thought I would be reading this in a high school bio, but, Thu is a great role model when it comes to eating healthy, because she can often be seen eating fruit and sipping on a green smoothie with chia seeds.”
Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera gave each scholarship recipient a citation from his office.