AYER/SHIRLEY — Ayer High School Principal Don Parker introduced the 22 members of the Class of 2010 who have been awarded the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship.
Parents and other family members on Dec. 11 joined Parker, Ayer School District Superintendent George Frost, Shirley School District Superintendent Mac Reid, Interim Ayer Shirley Superintendent Mary Beth Hamel, and AHS Guidance Counselor Cynthia Esielionis for the occasion, mingling over juice and muffins in the school cafeteria.
“I want to thank everybody for being with us this morning,” said Parker. “This is one of our happier occasions — to award students with this scholarship.”
To be eligible for the Adams Scholarship, a student must score in the Advanced category in either the mathematics or the English language arts section of the grade 10 MCAS test and score in the Proficient or Advanced category on the second subject (mathematics or English language arts).
The student must also have a combined MCAS score on these assessments that ranks in the top 25 percent in their school district, and be a permanent Massachusetts resident.
Adams scholars qualify for four years of free tuition to participating Massachusetts public institutions of higher education, such as a University of Massachusetts campus or a community college, beginning with the fall 2011 semester. The scholarship does not cover the cost of college fees, room and board, textbooks, and other expenses.
“(These students) have done so well here, and they are going to save you some money,” said Frost to the parents. “They have achieved well in their four years here, particularly on the MCAS. Due to their hard work they have achieved this high level…This is a wonderful moment for you to share with your kids.”
After a few brief comments from the other superintendents, Parker called out the names of all of the honorees, most of whom were present to receive their scholarship papers from their guidance counselor.
As the students finished their complimentary breakfast in the cafeteria, many shared their thoughts about their plans for college.
Scholarship recipient Sammy Holmes said that he would like to major in psychology at Assumption College in Worcester, and Sydney Wood stated that she is interested in attending Northeastern University or Wentworth Institute of Technology to study engineering.
Katie Ferreira said that she is looking at Endicott, Nichols, and Salem State colleges to pursue her interest in hospitality.
“I’m definitely looking at UMass Lowell for computer science,” said Jeremie Nieto.
Matthew Comeau said that he would like to pursue engineering at WPI or UMass, while Devon Sedor is interested in studying criminal justice at UMass Lowell or Fitchburg State.
“It’s pretty much based on who gives me the most money for soccer,” said Maurice Bechara of his choice of colleges. He said that after his recent performance at the Central Mass All-Stars, a recruiter from Nichols College expressed an interest in having him attend there, but he has not yet made a commitment.
“I’m looking into PE with a coaching letter, probably at Springfield College; it’s one of the best,” said Scott Newman. “That’s definitely my number one.”
“I want to double-major in creative writing and pre-law or pre-med,” said Nicholas Igo. “I’ve applied to 12 different schools already. I applied to Harvard, UMass Amherst, UConn, BC, BU, and Yale and Princeton,” he said.
“They are great kids, they really are,” said Mark Jenkins, proud father of scholarship winner Alexandra Jenkins. “Her brother Mark won it two years ago.”
“Dominique is going to do it next year,” said Alexandra’s grandmother, Carol Felix, with a nod to her other granddaughter. “She’s a junior. They know that without education, you have very little.”
The 2010 Ayer High School John and Abigail Adams Scholarship winners are:
Maurice Bechara, Katelyn Comeau, Matthew Comeau, Lindsey Cozzens, Brynnan Farrington, Katie Ferreira, Nathan Graham, Sammy Holmes, Nicholas Igo, Alexandra Jenkins, Zak Keeley, Angela Langford, Ryan Madigan, Sarah Megan, Ian Morrison, Scott Newman, Jeremie Nieto, Patrick Sallet, Devon Sedor, Robert Stiling, Kelsey Wenstrom, Sydney Wood.