Sun Staff Report
Four days remain inThe Sun's Persons of the Year balloting, and voters are urged to make their selections by midnight Friday, Jan. 3.
More than 900 ballots have been cast to date, with Market Basket CEO Arthur T. Demoulas emerging as the leader in the Man of the Year category. He had received 791 votes as of Monday, Dec. 30. UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan was in second place with 78 votes, followed by Tewksbury's Fred Simon, 43; Dracut's Nick Manolis, 40; and Charles and Arthur Anton, 5.
The Woman of the Year category finds Operation Delta Dog founder Trisha Blanchet of Chelmsford holding a 75-to-67 vote lead over Billerica foster mother Grace Cyr. Kathy Egmont, director of Lowell Community Charter Public School, has 53 votes; Dracut schoolteacher Rebecca Duda, 37, and Amsi Morales Lopez, a Lowell native and real-estate agent, 26.
Dracut High track standout Karina Shepard leads with 91 votes in the High School Female Athlete of the Year category. Bedford High's All-State runner Erin Dietz is in second with 87 votes, followed by Lowell High's Kaley Richards, 68, and Westford Academy's Samantha Hyslip, 64.
Chelmsford High baseball and hockey standout Mike DeDonato leads all males with 176 votes. Tewksbury High's Kevin Dick is next with 121 votes; Littleton High's Alex McLaughlin has 67; and Wilimgton High's Drew Foley has 17.
Readers can go to lowellsun.com/personoftheyear to vote for the nominees, whose names were among the dozens submitted by the public for consideration by Sun editors.
Subscribers can also clip out the printed article, circle one choice in each category, and mail it to: The Sun, Person of the Year, 491 Dutton St., Lowell, MA 01854. They, too, can vote more than once, but only the original clipping in today's newspaper will be accepted. No photocopies will be allowed.
The nominees are as follows:
Woman of the Year
* Trisha Blanchet of Chelmsford, founder of Operation Delta Dog, which rescues shelter dogs and trains them as service dogs for disabled veterans.
* Grace Cyr of Billerica, who at age 92 has raised five children of her own and 98 foster children through The Home of Little Wanderer's Intensive Foster Care Program.
* Rebecca Duda of Dracut, Lakeview Avenue school teacher, local historian and author whose book sales benefit local causes.
* Kathy Egmont, Lowell Community Charter Public School's director, who has sparked a dramatic academic turnaround at the school, saved it from closure, and won state approval for expansion.
* Amsi Morales Lopez, a Lowell native, attorney and real-estate agent who has launched two nonprofit fund-raising organizations to provide educational opportunities for students.
Man of the Year
* Charles Anton and Arthur Anton Jr., of Anton's drycleaning chain, the architects of the company's annual Coats for Kids and Belle of the Ball clothing drives.
* Arthur T. Demoulas, CEO of the Market Basket supermarket chain, who has fought the board of directors to keep employee salary and benefits packages intact.
* Nick Manolis, owner of Dracut House of Pizza, whose Manolis Family Foundations coordinates the annual "Project Helping Hands" which provides Thanksgiving dinner to more than 2,000 families.
* Marty Meehan, chancellor of UMass Lowell, who has raised the university's academic and athletic profile to elite status in four years at the helm.
* Fred Simon of Tewksbury, organizer for numerous local charitable fundraisers and leader of the successful fight to defeat a slots-gaming parlor proposal in Tewksbury.
Female Athlete of the Year
* Erin Dietz, a Bedford High junior, was MIAA All-State champion in 2-mile for winter track; DCL Division 2 Runner of the Year, and EMass. Div. 5 champ in cross country. She is an honor roll student.
* Samantha Hyslip, a Westford Academy senior, was DCL Large MVP in basketball leading WA to Division 1 North finals. She also is an all-star soccer goalie. She will play for Stonehill College.
* Kaley Richards, a Lowell High sophomore, won the MVC, Division 1 and All-State cross-country titles. Honored for sportsmanship after helping a fallen opponent. Carries a 4.1 GPA.
* Karina Shepard, a Dracut High senior, she was MVC Div. 2 Runner of the Year this fall. Outstanding miler in winter and spring track. Has 4.53 GPA and will attend Stanford.
Male Athlete of the Year
* Mike DeDonato, a Chelmsford High senior, is a star baseball and hockey player who earned a Future Leaders Scholarship from Bay State Games. Heavily involved in a cancer-awareness program and coaches youth baseball and hockey.
* Kevin Dick, a Tewksbury High senior, is a football/basketball star for the Super Bowl gridiron winners.
* Drew Foley, a Wilmington High senior, is a standout hockey goalie with a 10-0 postseason record during back-to-back state championships. Also a high-scoring soccer all-star.
* Alex McLaughlin, a Littleton High senior, is an outstanding quarterback for record high-scoring Super Bowl champions and a highly recruited baseball standout.