Twin sisters from Lynn English and a Lynn Tech student were this year’s recipients of the Richard and Ellen Penley Health and Science Scholarship.
Megan Hansen, Karina Ross and Karla Ross were presented the scholarship by Richard Penley, who has been awarding it since 2008 to students who plan to study health, science or a related field in college.
Penley started the scholarship fund in memory of his wife, Ellen Farmer Penley, a 1961 English graduate who died of ALS in 2005. The Penleys were very appreciative of the care Ellen received while she was battling the disease, and decided to use some of the money they had saved for retirement to help students who were interested in healthcare and the sciences.
“My wife was well taken care of when she was sick,” Penley said. “We wanted to do something to help kids who want to get into the healthcare field.”
Hansen studied health and technology at Tech and has been working as a certified nursing assistant at Abbott House nursing home in Lynn for a year. She will attend North Shore Community College in the fall.
“I always wanted to go into nursing,” Hansen said. “I took care of my grandmother and I have a cousin with autism. My mom inspired me to want to help others.”
Karina and Karla Ross are both headed to Boston College. They have dealt with the death of an uncle from a smoking-related disease and the death of their grandfather two years ago.
“I may want to be a pediatrician,” said Karina, who served as a mentor to Marshall Middle School students while at English.
“Our parents lived in poverty in a third-world country (Guatemala),” Karla said. “We should take advantage of the education and opportunities that we have and others don’t.”
There were 41 applicants for the Penley Scholarship this year. The criteria include academics, financial need and community service. Richard Penley and his cousin, Donna McInerney, are involved in the selection process.
“There were some very bright kids who applied,” Penley said. “We had a difficult time selecting, but we came up with three great winners.”
Superintendent of Schools Catherine Latham said the Penleys’ generosity is greatly appreciated.
“We are very fortunate to have this scholarship available to our students,” said Latham, who hosted the students, administrators from English and Tech, and Penley and McInerney in her office for the presentation. “Opportunities in health and sciences are increasing all the time. These scholarships from the Penleys have a significant positive impact on the students who receive them.”