By ALANA PERSSON, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Standing before a crowd of parents and top scholars at Laconia High School, salutatorian Allyssa Miner shared her reflections on her public school experience. “Learning saved me. It can save you,” said Miner. “It can save everyone.”
Miner opened the annual senior awards and scholarship night last week with the traditional salutatorian address. Miner shared the wisdom she has attained through her many years of school within the Laconia School District. Although Miner has faced hardships in her young life, she has never let the setbacks she faced stop her from pursuing an education. Thanking the teachers that inspired her, she said that academic excellence is something she strove for, and learning is something she loves.
The introduction by Miner set the tone for the evening, which would recognize a large portion of the Class of 2017 for their similar dedication to academics and passion for learning.
The first scholarship to be awarded was the Lily Johnson Memorial Scholarship, which was given to Leah Stivali and Colleen O’Brien. This award was in memory of a fellow classmate from the graduating class, who was killed four years ago in a car accident near the Laconia Middle School.
The Nathan J. Babcock Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Abigail Bailey and Ashley Burgos, as they both showed an outstanding dedication to service to others. The John Mullen Memorial Scholarship recognizes a student that goes through a transformation in their life, which was awarded to Rilee Littlefield.
The Devin M. Denoncourt Memorial Scholarship is given to a hardworking, determined, and natural leader, who is a good student, teammate, and positive influence on others. Taking these qualities into account, the committee awarded the scholarship to to Kevin Nguyen.
The American Legion Scholarship was given to a total of six students from nearby high schools. The three Laconia students awarded were Lyndsey Paronto, Colin Humphries and Kory Blake. Two other awards were given to Gilford High School seniors and one Plymouth High School graduate.
The Dan Allard award was created in memory of a local community member that took his life before he could fulfill his dreams. The Allard family said they have wanted to do something in memory of Dan for years, but this year they were able to award the inaugural scholarship to Leah Stivali, Nicolas Murry, Gladiana Spitz and Ashley Burgos.
Detective Peter Horan of the Laconia Police Officer’s Association and Laconia Police Relief Association awarded the Laconia Police Benevolent Association Scholarship to Abigail Bailey and Sandro Bosnjak. The Don Kimptis Community Service Scholarship, is another new scholarship as of this year, and is given in honor of a long-time police officer who has dedicated his life to the local community. The inaugural award was presented to Garyanne Setzer and Brittany Petell.
The Greater Manchester Black Scholarship was presented to Gladiana Spitz, as one of nine students in the state to receive this award.
Carols Cardona of the Mount Lebanon Lodge #32 and Free & Accepted Masons, Laconia presented the Nelson L. Harper Academic scholarship to Emily Baird and the Theodore M. Thompson Vocational Education Award to Dalibor Kresovic.
Cardona was honored to present these awards, as 10 years ago he graduated from the Laconia High School adult education program, and is now the vice president of a manufacturing firm in Laconia.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something” said Cardona. “Dream it and change the world.” Cardona further said he hoped that the seniors would continue searching for the light in the community, and thanked Laconia High School for helping him get to where he is now.
The James D. Sutherland Memorial Scholarship was given to Kadidja Conde; The $1,500 scholarship for the Lakes Region Board of Realtors was awarded to Teegan Stevens; and the $1,000 Concord Education Association Scholarship was presented to Ryan Cashman.
The Franklin Savings Bank Scholarships were given to Sydney Warman and Ashley Burgos. Warman also received the Educational Talent Search Scholarship.
Miner was awarded the Laconia High School Community Service Award and the Daughters of the American Revolution Award. The Charles H. and Mabel M. Perkins scholarship was presented to both Miner and Dalibor Kresovic. The Perkins scholarship award recipients are selected by school board members.
The Anne Jewett Steele Memorial Award was presented to Cheyanne Zappala; The Beatrice H. Priest Scholarships were awarded to Brittany Patell and Taylor Lovely. The Normandin, Cheney and O’Neill Book Prize was given to Dalibor Kresovic. The Principal’s Award was presented by David Bartlett and awarded to Alexis Albert and Richard Lennon.
The Lakes Region Scholarship Foundation Awards were given to 48 students from Laconia, with awards totaling more than $61,800. The Foundation has given more than $5.9 million to local students over the last 62 years to more than $5,000 students.
Emily Gray received the Boston Red Sox Scholarship and will be awarded the $1,000 scholarship at an upcoming Red Sox game. The JAG Scholarship was given to Cameron Giguere.
Throughout the evening other students were recognized for their excellence in mathematics, science, modern language, English, humanities, the arts, and physical education. Department heads from each area took the stage to present the awards to top students in each field.
The mathematics department recognized Mark Corriveau and Ellen St. James during the awards night, and notified them that there would be new awards given to students in their names. The Corriveau award was in honor of the many years he lead the math team at Laconia High School. The inaugural Corriveau award was given to math team captain Sydney Warman.
All students recognized at the awards night graduated from Laconia High School last Friday evening during the annual commencement ceremony.
Laconia High School students gather onstage at Awards Night. (Alana Persson/Laconia Daily Sun)