‘Y’ honors five teen achievers with scholarships

Courtesy Photo
Lawrence High School Basketball Coach Paul Neal of Dracut is surrounded by YMCA Teen Achievers and basketball players. Coach Neal was honored as 2008 “YMCA Adult Achiever” for his strong support of the Teen Achievers Program and role as a teen mentor.

On June 5, the Lawrence Branch of the Merrimack Valley YMCA held a celebration dinner honoring the five graduating seniors from Lawrence High School who have been enrolled in the Teen Achievers Program since they were freshmen. Five students were awarded scholarships ranging from $250 to $1,000. All five of the graduates will be attending college in the fall.

The scholarship winners include:

* Shyam Simms (Lincoln Technical Insitiute), $250 YMCA Scholarship;

* Junior Veras (UMass Lowell), $250 Needham Scholarship;

* Sukerlin Contreras (UMass Lowell), $500 George W. Cunningham Scholarship;

* Chris Oviedo (Middlesex Community College), $750 Needham Scholarship;

* Mariucy Tejada (UMass Amherst), $1,000 Lindsay Scholarship and $250 YMCA Scholarship.

Also honored on was Lawrence High School basketball coach and YMCA Teen Achiever Mentor Paul Neal. Coach Neal was honored as 2008 “YMCA Adult Achiever.” He was presented the award by Justin Nieves, YMCA Teen Achiever.

The Teen Achievers program, which began 10 years ago, has grown from 25 students to more than 230. There are 30 mentors who offer weekly support to the teens.

“We look to explore a variety of career opportunities with the students and to elevate their academic standards and achievements. This program was developed in 1998 and we have seen many of the students grow and succeed both in high school and college. We take pride in the Teen Achievers Program, as it reflects the mission of the YMCA and incorporates our core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. The support of our many mentors from the business community, coupled with the strong academic component helps to build character in our youth,” said Frank Kenneally, YMCA district executive director.