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Merrimack Valley

June 30, 2013

Lawrence woman has 'top notch' idea to help others like her

(Continued)

Kelley said he is “thrilled” DePena is offering scholarships for inner city kids. “You can absolutely see its coming from her heart and that’s the type of person she is.”

Kelley said DePena takes the lead whenever he sees a need in the community.

“She looks at the situation and seeks help for those who need it. That’s something that I love about her,” Kelley said.

One case was a walk for cancer she started for Angel who has since died. This year’s walk is being dedicated to a student at the Wetherbee School who suffers from the illness. She partnered with St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

“She knows from personal experience she had to struggle to make things work. Now she is saying, ‘How many kids can I help with this” and “What can I do to make Lawrence a place.”

After graduating from the Leonard School, she received a four-year scholarship to Proctor Academy, a boarding school at the base of Rugged Mountain in Andover, N.H. She felt she was not academically prepared for the rigorous program at Proctor so she repeated the eighth grade at the former Holy Trinity School at the suggestion of Kelley.

“I trusted him and it was the best decision I’ve ever made that was the best opportunity for me. I can’t even fathom what life would be like if I had not gone to Proctor,” DePena said.

Administrators at Proctor Academy feel the same way.

Gregor Makechnie, the school’s athletic director, was one of the administrators who interviewed DePena when she applied to the school.

“We were very impressed with her drive and desire to be successful,” he said. “Her character and work ethic was abundant and in her years here, she certainly prove our impression.”

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