Yahni Lapa and Mia Rosengard have been awarded scholarships from the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber.
Lapa is a graduating senior at Newton North High School and will attend Brandeis University in fall 2019. During her youth, Lapa’s family experienced challenging financial and personal hardships. Rather than succumb to these circumstances, determination and resiliency became core family values.
Lapa is a disciplined student athlete committed to surpassing her own expectations while leading others to meet their own potential. She never turns away from a challenge in the classroom or on the track field. As captain of the Newton North Track team, she became 2018 State Champion in the 400 meter hurdle event. She also serves as a Youth Ambassador at The Second Step and is a camp counselor at Meadowbrook Day Camp.
Rosengard is a graduating senior at Needham High School and will be attending Lehigh University in the fall. As a young child, Rosengard experienced the decline in health and death of her mother to cancer. Through participation in grief counseling at HEARTplay, Rosengard learned how to share her feelings and navigate her world without her mom. Her painful loss and healing process fostered strength and empathy. Rosengard’s life has come full circle as she helps children find their own way through the grieving process.
In additional to her academic achievement and extensive school activities, Rosengard digs deep into the community reaching children with her nurturing and generous manner. Rosengard leads her own teen support group at HEARTplay and tutors fellow students at Needham High. She is an afterschool educator and counselor at the Charles River YMCA in addition to having a robust babysitting business.
Each year the chamber recognizes two graduating seniors who reside or attend school in Newton and Needham, respectively. While academic performance and extracurricular activities are important criteria, a compelling story and a history of demonstrated effort set candidates apart.
This year the committee took note of a common thread between the recipients. In each case, the seniors dealt with personally challenging circumstances in their youth and not only individually flourished; but also chose to reach back into their experiences through community service to assist others in similar situations.
This year’s scholarship committee was chaired by Kevin Ruddy (PTC). Members included Alison Borrelli (BHHS Commonwealth, Needham), Bryan Manandhar (Brookline Bank), Mark Loveless (The Village Bank), Josephine McNeil (UCHAN) and Eric Turner (Lasell College).