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Franklin High grad Victoria Bernardini receives seventh annual A. James Lavoie Scholarship from Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation

Posted by boston.com  July 5, 2013 03:39 PM

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Victoria Bernardini 1.jpg
Courtesy of the Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation
Victoria Bernardini of Franklin who received the seventh annual $5,000 A. James Lavoie Scholarship

This press release was provided by Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation

Dana M. Neshe, President of the Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation, has announced that Victoria Bernardini of Franklin is recipient of the seventh annual A. James Lavoie Scholarship.

The $5,000 award is named in honor of Mr. Lavoie, former president of Middlesex Savings Bank, who was deeply committed to the support of education. Bernardini, a graduate of Franklin High, will attend UMass-Dartmouth. She plans to concentrate on the history and cultures of the Middle East, and she hopes to spend a year of study abroad.

An independent committee selected Bernardini for the Lavoie Scholarship for her essay in response to “If you could do one thing to improve the quality of life in your community, what would it be and how would you do it?” Bernardini proposed a peer-to-peer counseling program she named “High School Journey…Seriously.”

As a learning-disabled student whose dyslexia came to light in grade school, Bernardini followed an Individualized Education Program (IEP) through Franklin High and overcame her difficulties in reading and math. But in freshman and sophomore years she did not take her studies seriously. She explained that she would have benefited greatly from a program in which upperclassmen advised younger students on how to realize their academic potential and improve their prospects for admission to college.

“Doing well in high school has very serious consequences. High school students often live in the moment and let academics slip. Both my teachers and parents expected good grades from me, but often the message did not get through. I believe I would have been receptive to some friendly advice and guidance from an informed peer,” she wrote.

Bernardini’s plan envisioned a series of seminars by a cadre of senior-class volunteers who would explain the school’s academic expectations and stress the importance of setting high standards – including consistent class participation, homework, cumulative grade point average, and SAT scores – beginning in freshman year.

“We’re pleased to award this year’s A. James Lavoie Scholarship to Victoria Bernardini,” said Neshe.

“Her essay demonstrated both a mature understanding of high school education’s importance and a clear, realistic path to helping young people reach their full potential. We also salute her for perseverance in her own studies, and we wish her the very best at UMass-Dartmouth and in her future endeavors.”

The Foundation also announced that 30 other students from 25 communities have received $1,000 scholarship grants. Selection criteria included academic merit, financial need, community service, and personal improvement.

The towns represented, the students, and the college they plan to attend, are listed below. Unless noted in parentheses, the students are graduates of their respective town’s high schools.

Ashland: Phoebe Kurris, Bridgewater State. Bedford: Evelyn Sainato, TBD. Bellingham: Megan Kenney, University of New England. Boxborough: Ryan Small (Acton-Boxborough Regional), Endicott. Concord: Jack Struck (Concord-Carlisle), American University.

Framingham (4): Fiorella Portal-Venturi (Advanced Math & Science Academy), Worcester State; Jonathan Montanez (Joseph P. Keefe Technical), TBD; Melanye Fontanelle (Framingham High Resiliency for Life Program), Mass Bay; Colin Moran, University of New Haven.

Franklin (2): Victoria Bernardini ($5,000 A. James Lavoie Scholarship), UMass-Dartmouth; Katherine Nazzaro, Bridgewater State. Groton: Jamie Park, UMass-Amherst. Holliston: Jacob McLinden, UNH; Hopkinton: Jaclyn Chirco, Assumption; Littleton: Garrett Essman, University of Vermont.

Maynard (2): Morgan Parmeter (Assabet Valley Regional), Merrimack; Colby LeSage, Bridgewater State. Medfield: Scott Todd, Florida Institute of Technology; Medway (2): Abigail Gay, Tri-County Regional) Wheelock; Madison Holland, Simmons; Milford (2): Gabriela Rosa, Blackstone Valley Regional), Assumption; Madeline Parsons, Worcester State.

Millis: Matthew Fife, Westfield State; Northborough: Josue Deleon (Algonquin Regional), Worcester State. Natick: Timothy Sakharov, Northeastern; Needham: Julie Weinberg-Connors, Beloit College; Sudbury: Adam Bradley (Lincoln-Sudbury), UMass. Wayland: Mark Bonner, TBD; Wellesley: Amanda Harkavy, Dartmouth; Westford (2): Aaron Febbi, UMass-Amherst; Emily Morency, Elon University.

The Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation was established in 2000 through an endowment provided by Middlesex Savings Bank to ensure funding of scholarships and worthy non-profits in any economic climate. Over $325,000 has been distributed to date through the scholarship program.

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