Greater Lawrence Technical School senior Alkenly Ortiz was named the only Massachusetts 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Career and Technical Education category. (Courtesy photograph.)
Greater Lawrence Technical School senior Alkenly Ortiz was named one of four Massachusetts U.S. Presidential Scholars—and the only student in the state to earn the recognition in the Career and Technical Education category, said Superintendent John Lavoie Monday.
Ortiz, of Lawrence and a native of the Dominican Republic, is completing his final year of the carpentry program at Greater Lawrence Technical School and plans to pursue a career in architecture. In the essay portion of his application, he wrote about his desire to help solve homelessness after seeing the devastating effects of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, approximately only 100 miles from his home in the Dominican Republic.
“That earthquake experience made me realize that I wanted to help out in world crisis issues with something that I have a passion for,” Ortiz wrote. “Homelessness continues to be a struggle for every generation, but I believe we can take the steps necessary to solve it.” He is the first nominated by the Andover school for the award.
Established in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program recognizes and honors a select number of graduating high school seniors every year for their accomplishments.
“We’re incredibly proud and excited for Alkenly, and to have our first nominee earn this level of recognition is outstanding,” Lavoie said. “We know that great things are in store for Alkenly no matter what path he pursues after graduation.”
Ortiz was one of approximately 5,100 students identified as a candidate following a nomination process. In April, he became one of 723 semifinalists nationwide and one of five in Massachusetts in the Career and Technical Education category. Winners will be honored during the Presidential Scholars Program’s National Recognition Program of events from June 18 to 20 in Washington, D.C.