TYNGSBORO — Lowell City Councilor Rita Mercier will be honored along with The Sun and several others next month by the Academy of Notre Dame.

The 2010 Leaders of Distinction Medallion Awards will be presented to five honorees at the Indian Ridge Country Club in Andover on Friday, Sept. 10.

Mercier, a 1965 graduate of Notre Dame, will receive the Government and Law Award for her leadership in the community and for upholding individual rights and the integrity of law.

“I came from Little Canada in Lowell and my father worked in the mills and my mother stayed at home with the family,” said Mercier, who was elected to the City Council in 1995 and served as mayor from 2002 to 2004.

“My parents, who became my mentors and my heroes, were dedicated to a Catholic education and the Academy of Notre Dame was their choice for me.”

The Arts and Communication Award will be presented to The Sun, which provided a voice to the Irish-Catholic community in the days when the city was predominantly run by wealthy Protestant mill owners. The award also credits the newspaper for its role in the rebirth of Lowell.

Fred “Jack” Kinsman, owner of Kinsman Auto Service and Sales in North Andover, will receive the Business and Finance Award. Kinsman, whose two daughters are Notre Dame graduates, worked as a volunteer at the school for 11 years. He served on the board of directors for six years and has been the assistant high school coach and middle school head coach of the softball team.

“There seems to be a shortage of good role models for young people today,” said Kinsman, of Tewksbury. “I try to do the right thing so my children, grandchildren and all I come in contact with will do the right thing and be responsible adults when called upon.”

Notre Dame’s campus minister, Kathy Sennott, will receive the Education Award for her work as theology chairperson, division head and administrator. Sennott, of Westford, has been with the academy for almost 30 years. She says being a role model is not easy.

“We never know what effect we have on another person,” she said. “To speak with students and others, expressing what we believe, admitting to not knowing everything, or even admitting a wrong, all lay the groundwork for integrity, honesty and possibilities.”

Mary Beth Leary, a 1975 graduate, will receive the Health and Science Award. She is a physical therapist at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and the parent of an academy senior and two middle-school children. She recognizes the potential in young people.

“They have so much to offer, so much energy, so much good to bring into the world,” said Leary, of Hollis, N.H. ”

Tickets to the event are $100 each. Anyone wishing to attend or become a sponsor can contact Sue Adams at 978-649-7611, ext. 323 or by e-mail at