CHELMSFORD, MA (June 9, 2021) – Seniors Olivia Pellegrino and Allie LoCoco were named the 2022 recipients of Council of Chelmsford Schools (CoCS) Scholarships, the CoCS Scholarship Committee Announced at its quarterly meeting on May 18.
The CoCS Scholarships are presented to two seniors who best describe in essay form which Chelmsford Public Schools staff member has had the most profound impact on their lives. The essays are judged by the CoCS Scholarship Committee, and the recipients are invited to the CoCS Spring Meeting to read their essays aloud to their mentors.
Both Ms. Pellegrino and Ms. LoCoco will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
Ms. Pellegrino submitted a moving essay about McCarthy Middle School science teacher Katherine Hill whom, wrote Ms. Pellegrino, was integral in helping her break free of her anxiety issues. Ms. Pellegrino described her mental health struggles, particularly in grades 7 and 8, the years in which she was a member of Ms. Hill’s classes.
“I think it was that she understood me,” said Ms. Pellegrino. “Not everyone gets me. She always took the time to get to know her students and how they learned best. She did that all day, every day.”
Ms. Pellegrino graduated last Saturday having achieved High Honor Roll status, having served as a captain of the track and field team and a member of the World Languages Honor Society. “(Ms. Hill) was essential in getting myself to where I am today,” Ms. Pellegrino wrote. “She would not give up on me, and in turn I learned not to give up on myself whether it was in or out of the classroom.”
Ms. Pellegrino will attend Westfield State College this fall where she will major in history. To no one’s surprise, she plans to become a teacher.
Ms. Pellegrino is the daughter of Michael and Laurie Marry-Pellegrino.
Ms. LoCoco, who will pursue a dual major in Deaf Studies and Psychology at Holy Cross, commended the influence of CHS Principal Steve Murray in her essay. Ms. LoCoco, who was born partially deaf, wrote about her desire to learn American Sign Language when transitioning to CHS her freshman year – even though she was exempt from CHS’s World Languages requirement.
Though ASL was not yet part of the World Languages curriculum, Mr. Murray found and approved a three-year online ASL course for Ms. LoCoco. Simultaneously, Mr. Murray and the World Languages staff were in the process of adding a third language to the curriculum and brought ASL into consideration. A student body vote resulted in adding ASL 1 to the curriculum for the 2020-21 academic year with ASL 2 to follow in 2021-22.
“This process took a long time, but (Mr. Murray) never gave up,” Ms. LoCoco wrote. “At the end of my sophomore year, Mr. Murray invited me to be a part of the hiring committee for an ASL teacher.”
There are more than 125 students enrolled in ASL either as a World Language requirement or an elective. Ms. LoCoco said it would not have been made possible without Mr. Murray’s leadership. “He is one of the most positive, welcoming people I have ever met,” Ms. LoCoco said. “Being the Senior Class Secretary, I got to work with him, and he always had the most positive attitude. I wanted that kind of model in my life.”
In addition to serving as a class officer, Ms. LoCoco was the captain of the girls soccer team (9-5-5), which advanced to the MIAA Division I Tournament, and a sprinter on the indoor and spring track and field teams. The Emerson House Student of the Month for October, she also serves on the student panel of Children’s Hospital Boston and is a member of the LOFT Leadership Program for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Ms. LoCoco is the daughter of Joe and Karen LoCoco.
Ms. Hill and Mr. Murray will each receive a check for $100.
About the Council of Chelmsford Schools
The Council of Chelmsford Schools is a 501(c) organization composed of all the PTOs in the Chelmsford School District. The mission is to support the Chelmsford Public Schools by facilitating communication among parents, parent groups and representatives of the District; to promote the educational well-being of students in the District; and to provide educational opportunities to the parents, parent groups, staff, administration, and community members.
About Chelmsford Public Schools
The Chelmsford Public School District provides all students with multiple pathways to optimize their own potential for academic excellence, leadership, and social and emotional wellness. The mission of the Chelmsford Public Schools is to educate, engage, prepare, and empower well-rounded and knowledgeable learners to PERSEVERE through challenges, demonstrate RESPECT and INTEGRITY in their words and actions, are DEDICATED to their community, and display EMPATHY as global citizens while discovering and pursuing their full potential. This PRIDE-driven culture enables all members of the school community to support the growth and development of students. For more information, please visit www.chelmsford.k12.ma.us.