Posted by Ray Bastarache on May 25, 2022
The Rotary Club of Lynn Scholarship Committee recently reviewed some 30 applications from area high schools where Lynn seniors attend before finally coming to consensus on five truly outstanding students.  
Lynn English seniors Vatana Chen and Nantenen Kiata along with Abigail Constine from St. Mary’s, Lynn Classical’s Prisila Romero and KIPP Academy’s Stacey Munoz Arreaga emerged as the recipients of Rotary’s Richard Maloney & Robert Hastings Memorial Scholarships.  Pictured here from left to right: Nantenen Kiata, Stacey Munoz Arreaga, Vatana Chen, Prisila Romero and Abigail Constine.
“I know I can speak for the committee members when I say how the selection process gets more challenging every year,” admitted Ray Bastarache, a longtime Lynn educator and committee chair.   “Vatana, Nantenen, Abigail, Prisila and Stacey had an average GPA (Grade-point average) of 4.25, with a total of 35 Advance Placement or honors level course over their last three years of high school.  They captained sports teams, led school clubs and organizations, and all five were very involved in community service.  The Lynn community has a lot to be proud of.”
Vatana Chen ranks fifth in a large senior class of 447.  She participated in volleyball, tennis, mock trial, Friends of Rachel, and Girls’ Inc.  Vatana has served as President of the Student Council for four years and is headed to Tufts University to study Biochemistry. Vatana’s guidance counselor wrote in his support letter, “There is no doubt that this National Honor Society member is more than prepared for the greater academic challenges that await her in college.”
Nantenen Keita came to America and Lynn English from Guinea, West Africa.  She spoke only French as a freshman and struggled to make friends and socialize.  However, Nantenen began to evolve as a sophomore.  She joined Friends of Rachel, the Yleana Leadership Foundation, and Girls' Inc.  She ran indoor track and became involved in the Transition Club whose purpose is to facilitate the integration of immigrant students into LEHS.  She ranks 21st in her class and has a GPA of 4.1.  Nantenen is headed to UMass-Amherst to study Neurosciences and Pre-Med.
Stacey Munoz Arreaga is a KIPP Academy senior and the founder and President of Youth in Charity.  Stacey epitomizes volunteerism.  She’s a regular volunteer at Salvation Army, the Haven Project, My Brother’s Table, and serves as a youth board member for the International Red Cross.  Stacey plays on the KIPP soccer team.  She is trilingual (Spanish, English and French), and her GPA is 3.6 with mostly honors classes.  Stacey has been accepted to Suffolk University and plans to study political science.  Stacey is a first-generation college student.  Her parents immigrated to America from Mexico.
Prisila Romero is a hard-working and humble senior from Lynn Classical.  She described herself as the ‘leader' of her eight younger cousins and brother. Her parents and relatives were all born and raised in El Salvador and live together in their apartment homes.  Prisila ranks 16th in her class of 435 and has a GPA of 4.46.  She works at CVS as a front store associate and pharmacy technician.  Prisila has been accepted to UMass-Boston and is looking for a career in nursing.
Abigail Constine is a National Honor Society student from St. Mary’s, who is headed to St. Anselm’s College and its highly competitive nursing program.  In her student essay, Abigail wrote passionately about the importance of perseverance and resiliency when dealing with disappointments.  At St. Mary’s Abigail played basketball and soccer.  She belonged to Rachel’s Challenge, the Diversity Club and participated in peer tutoring.  Her GPA is an impressive 4.55, and she ranks sixth in her senior class.