LAWRENCE — They are very bright, they are motivated and they are ready to take on the world.
They are the recent top graduates of Lawrence's high schools. The City Council honored them at a recent meeting.
City Councilor Marc Laplante introduced the graduates to the council. He expressed the hope that "their debt won't cripple them."
Chabeli Garcia, valedictorian of Lawrence High School's Abbott Lawrence Academy, will soon be attending "a college in Cambridge," Laplante told his colleagues. With a shy smile, she admitted she's headed for Harvard.
While she was at Lawrence High, she was a student leader and participated in a science club for girls.
Lawrence High School's other valedictorian, Elvianna DeJesus, who earned the top grade point average in the Upper School Academy, was a peer mentor to freshmen. She will be attending University of Massachusetts Lowell, where she will major in political science.
As she shook hands with the councilors, some of them may have been wondering if she might be a candidate for one of their seats at some point.
Kelvin Sanchez was attired in a tuxedo for the occasion. Sanchez will also be attending UMass Lowell.
His stay there may be three years or less, instead of the usual four, because he has already earned 31 college credits.
Dalvyn Velez will attend Georgetown University.
Jennifer Santana, the valedictorian at Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School, earned a 4.546 grade point average.
Since 4.0 is usually the highest, Laplante wondered how a student could exceed that number. Santana is all set to enroll at Notre Dame University.
Students at Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School earn part of their tuition through work/study assignments. They usually work one day a week at their jobs.
Santana was employed at MITRE Corp.
Each of the students who attended Tuesday night's session spoke briefly to the council, thanking their parents and teachers. LHS Headmaster Michael Fiato accompanied his top graduates while Notre Dame Cristo Rey Principal Anthony Zavagnin, also known as Dr. Z, joined Santana.
Yexis Hechavarria, who delivered the student address at the Northern Essex Community College commencement ceremony May 18, was also honored by the council.
This was the ninth consecutive year the council has paid tribute to Lawrence's top graduates. Laplante has organized the activity.
"We have many outstanding graduates every year from Lawrence," Laplante said. "We take pride in recognizing their achievements and wish them great success as they continue on their journey. They represent the best Lawrence has to offer."
High-achieving graduates of Greater Lawrence Technical and Central Catholic high schools will be recognized by the council later this month, Laplante said.