Area Students Take Home Scholarships at Valley Patriot Newspaper’s Reimagined Event

This year’s Valley Patriot scholarship event took place at Studio21 Podcast Cafe. (Courtesy photograph.)

A number of area students were awarded scholarships as the Valley Patriot newspaper made the transition from an annual in-person “bash” to a studio event.

The Valley Patriot newspaper holds a charity scholarship and award night annually during the third week of March, but COVID-19 forced the event’s cancellation. Instead, committee members recently staged an event at Studio 21 Podcast Cafe.

Haverhill High School senior Jake Nicolosi was awarded the newly established Michelle Deluca Benedetti Memorial Scholarship. It honors Michelle DeLuca Benedetti, who passed away from cancer last year, and is given to a student majoring in social work or criminal justice. Nicolosi, captain of the wrestling team and now has the most wins of any Haverhill High student in the history of the school, was selected by Haverhill School Committeeman Scott W. Wood Jr. Nicolosi is attending Johnson and Wales University in the fall where he will be majoring in criminal justice.

Lauren Fitzgerald of Salisbury was awarded the Whittier Tech Scholarship, established by Al Veilleux three years ago. Fitzgerald graduated from Whittier majoring in Dental Assisting. She is attending Suffolk University for her undergraduate degree. Fitzgerald was also presented with a citation from state Sen. Diana DiZoglio.

Ahlyia LeClerc of Methuen received the Greater Lawrence Tech Scholarship, established by former Greater Lawrence Tech School Committee member and Methuen City Councilor Jessica Finocchiaro. LeClerc had a 4.29 GPA and graduated sixth in her class of 372 students. The AP Physics student was and enrolled in English and History at Middlesex Community College. She will be attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Kerri Horan and Zoe Toohey, both of Methuen, became the first recipients of the Patricia Perry Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is named for the mother of Methuen Mayor Neil Perry, who passed away earlier this year. Horan played softball for Methuen High for three years and was also a cheerleader all four years. She will be attending Suffolk University in the fall. Toohey participated in indoor and outdoor track at Methuen High. She was on varsity and went to States every year. She was a co-captain for cross country her senior year and also volunteered with the youth track/ cross country program. She is in the top 5% of her class, earning high honors all throughout high school. She will be attending UMass Lowell, majoring in Criminal Justice.

Ana Bono of North Andover High School, who previously attended Thomson Grammar School, was awarded the Dan Coady Memorial Scholarship, established three years ago by Al Veilleux of Haverhill to honor Dan Coady, of Coady’s Towing, who died while assisting a disabled motorist on I-495. Veilleux targeted the scholarship to a graduate of the Thomson Grammar School where Dan Coady’s kids attended when he was killed. Bono is attending the University of New England in the fall where she will be majoring in physical therapy and will go on to get her doctorate.

Camilla Herrera of Lawrence took away the Lawrence High Junior ROTC Scholarship. The scholarship was repurposed in 2018 when 1958 Lawrence High School graduate Eugene Smith donated $1,000 and asked the scholarship be targeted towards a student in the Junior ROTC program.

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