The Puritan Lawn Memorial Park Education Foundation has opened up its doors to local high school students who are interested in applying for its 2013 scholarship program.
The organization is designed to provide financial assistance to students who might not have performed to their potential due to extreme hardships they have encountered.
This year, the foundation has the finances to support as many as five students. The amount of money that each student receives depends on his or her situation. The recipients are chosen two or three weeks after the April 16 application deadline.
“We go after high risk kids and we have had tremendous successes and some failures,” said Lawrence Glynn, director of the Puritan Lawn Memorial Park Education Foundation. “We’ve had kids who had potential and just didn’t do it. It’s a high-risk, high-reward program, but we have a lot of satisfaction. We’ve been doing this for 20 years and we learn a lot as to how best we can influence these kids.”
Since 1998, Puritan Lawn has awarded nearly $70,000 in scholarships to students like 22-year-old Brian Castellano of Lynn, as well as students from other surrounding communities.
When Castellano was a freshman in high school his mother died of cancer and he was forced to move in with his older brother. Three years later, his brother died of cancer too.
“I have a lot of pride, but I was unable to advance in my academics because I worked full time and played three sports,'' said Castellano. "I didn’t have the right resources to put me where I needed to be in life.”
Now the Framingham State University senior has a 3.5 GPA. He has made the Dean’s List on numerous occasions and is a member of the National Honor’s Society, among other things. He owes it all to guidance from the Puritan Lawn Memorial Education Foundation, and the scholarship it awarded him his senior year of high school.
Glynn said the foundation has been able to help students like Castellano rise up from the trenches of tragedy and make something of their lives.
“That’s the reason we get up in the morning,” Glynn said. “It’s very satisfying.”