— Brandi Zizza, 17, will graduate from Haverhill High today. She might not have made it without the help of teacher Kerry Murphy and others who tutored her at home when an autoimmune disease made her too ill to attend school two years ago. With Murphy’s help, Brandi is actually graduating a year early and, with her health improved, is planning to attend St. Anselm College in the fall. Said Brandi’s mom, Kimberly Zizza, of Murphy: “She is truly an angel that was sent to us to help get us through our most difficult times.”
— One of the honorees at the Moynihan Lumber Merrimack Valley Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards last week was Jake Lovett, 83, of Plaistow, who received a Lifetime Commitment award. He helped found the Timberlane Tornadoes youth football program 46 years ago and is still active in the program. Forty-six years, that’s a lot of commitment.
— Briyith Betances of Lawrence is president of the Keystone Club, a leadership group that serves as a junior staff for the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club, mentoring younger members, supervising the club’s supper program, helping out at other events and performing two community service projects a year. She’s also the Youth of the Year for Massachusetts Boys & Girls Clubs and will compete for the Northeast Regional title in New York City this month. Last week, she was honored by the Boston Red Sox, throwing out the first pitch at Wednesday’s game against the Texas Rangers.
Thanks and congratulations to all. May their stories, and those of others this summer, inspire others to make a difference.