For the first time in 14 months, the Rotary Club of Lynn met in person Thursday night, May 20, 2021, for the purpose of awarding scholarships to five students. 

Though all five of this year’s winners come from Lynn schools, Scholarship Committee Chairman Raymond Bastarache said that all students who live in the city, regardless of high school, are eligible to win the $1,000 grants.  In addition to Ray, three other Lynn Rotarians were part of the committee and are in the picture, left to right: Jeff Weeden, Jean-Marie Minton, Ray, and Richard Ruth.  The students pictured, left to right, are: Thanayri Ortiz, Samantha Parker, Kevin Biv, and Noh leGal.

The winners are Noah leGal and Matthew Sanchez from Classical, Samantha Parker and Kevin Biv of English, and Thanayri Ortiz of KIPP Academy.

Biv will attend Boston College and major in liberal arts, while Parker will attend Northeastern University as a biology major; Parker also is English’s salutatorian. As the second-ranked student out of 414, she has a 4.5 GPA. She is a student-government executive and a National Honor Society member. 

Biv is ranked fifth at English with a 4.36 GPA. He is also a La Vida scholar, and ran three seasons of track for the Bulldogs. He has been in the country 11 years, after emigrating from France. 

leGal was a member of several Lynn Public School bands at Classical, and is also a National Honor Society member with a 3.8 GPA. He will go to Salem State and major in liberal arts, but said he would like to study some form of therapy as he was positively impacted by some of the therapists he’d encountered after being diagnosed with autism.

Sanchez has applied to four Ivy League universities and is a National Honor Society member with a 4.52 GPA. He is in all honors and advanced-placement classes and was active in the drama club and basketball team this past winter.   Matthew could not attend the presentation due to a conflicting engagement. 

Ortiz will attend Bennington College in Vermont. She was on the leadership and senior mentoring teams at Girls Inc., and has volunteered for more than 50 hours at Greater Lynn Senior Services while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

The recipients were chosen from a field of about 20 applicants, Bastarache said — roughly half of what the club usually gets. The reason for this, he said, was due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students had to maintain a good academic standing and each write an essay about some aspect of their identities. 

“What amazes me is that all Lynn public and charter school students were learning remotely since the third quarter of their junior years,” Bastarache said. “Yet somehow these seniors, and I’m sure there were others, remained laser-focused and continued to excel both in and out of the classroom.”