Valedictorian Adnan Jalal
Adnan Jalal says he will be proudly following his siblings on their path to college. His brother, Abrar, is a student at Boston College. His sister, Methun, is a graduate of UMass Amerst and holds a graduate degree from Regis College. She works as physician’s assistant at an area hospital. All are graduates of Lynn English High School.
Adnan, the valedictorian of the Lynn English Class of 2020, will attend Tufts University in Medford.
Lynn is 25 miles from Medford, but this journey of academic accomplishment began 8,000 miles away in Bangladesh, the South Asian nation from where their parents, Mohammed and Syeda, came to the United States in 1998. The family owns CJ’s Variety on Lynnfield Street, Peabody.
“I owe so much to my parents,” said Adnan, who also speaks Bengali, the native language of Bangladesh. “They stressed heavily the importance of education. They came to America so my siblings and I could get a better education.”
With Gov. Baker ordering the closure of schools for the remainder of the year due to the coronavirus, Adnan received notification from Lynn English that his 4.62 grade point average was the highest in the class of 400 students. He was accepted to Tufts in March and chose it after he considered joining his brother at BC.
“I’m pretty excited and I’m looking forward to Tufts and it’s close to home, too,” said Adnan “I really like the school. I actually had two visits in an overnight program that they do for prospective students.”
A Proud Product of Lynn Schools
Adnan Jalal was a high achiever during his years in the Lynn school system. He began at Hood Elementary School, continued at Pickering Middle School and then enrolled at English, where he spent the past four years.
At English, he was a three-sport athlete, competing in cross country, indoor track, and baseball, having participated in East Lynn Little League and Lynn Babe Ruth.
A scholar-athlete himself with plenty of pride in his school, Adnan said he closely followed the state championship season of the English boys basketball team.
“I went to the games, it was really exciting,” related Adnan. “I was at the Garden when they won the title.”
In addition to his participation in athletics, Adnan was a member of the Math team and the Environmental Club. He was selected to the National Honor Society that recognizes students for their outstanding academics, leadership, service and character. He will study Computer Science at Tufts.
Adnan praised the faculty at English and his classmates for bringing out the best in his abilities as a student.
“The environment is challenging and really prepares you for college and your future,” he said.
He singled out for special gratitude, his pre-calculus teacher, Mr. [Paul] Mailloux, his cross country coach Mr. Walsh, and his guidance counselor, Mr. [Robert] Zollo, “who was very helpful throughout the college admission process.”
A Different Ending
When asked BOUT having his senior year cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, Adnan said, “It’s been pretty hard not being at the school and not seeing my classmates and teachers every day. I really miss it a lot. I was really looking forward to the end-of-the-year activities.”
Adnan said he has not yet begun writing his valedictory address that he would have delivered in front of a large audience at the Lynn English graduation ceremony. Unquestionably Adnan’s parents – who came to America two decades ago to give their children the opportunity to pursue their dream of a world-class education -would have been at graduation beaming with pride as he took the podium to make his speech.
“I’ll talk about the global pandemic and its impact, which will be a big part of the speech,” said Adnan. “But I want to talk about how great the past four years were at English and that this is just the beginning of the journey for all of us.”
Salutatorian Tallia Dudley
Tallia Dudley is one half of Lynn English High School’s dynamic duo.
Dudley, the English Class of 2020 salutatorian, will be joining Adnan Jalal, her classmate and friend in the incoming Tufts University Class of 2024.
Tallia said she and Adnan have been actually been classmates since the sixth grade at Pickering Middle School where they were all-A students. They had several classes together at English during the past four years.
“It’s very exciting and it was a very competitive four years,” said Tallia, noting the closeness of her and Adnan’s spectacular grade point averages and the mutual respect they have for each other. “It’s been a healthy competition but more about teamwork and working together to make it through these four years to the top.”
A Questbridge Scholar
Tallia has known since December that she would be attending Tufts, an internationally acclaimed university located in nearby Medford. Having been selected as a Questbridge Scholar – out of a candidate pool of 15,000 students across the country – Tallia received a full scholarship to Tufts, She was recently named a recipient of the Gates Scholarship.
“I felt beyond blessed to earn a Gates Scholarship as well,” she said humbly.
Participated in Many Activities at English
As one might expect, Tallia was a four-year captain of the English Quiz Bowl Team. She was a member of the Math Team (with Adnan) and secretary of the Environmental Club.
Tallia is the president of the Lynn English chapter of the National Honor Society “I was really looking forward to handing out the pins to the newest inductees and congratulating them in my speech,” said Tallia.
The four-year varsity tennis player was set to complete her senior season this spring. The sports season was canceled due to COVID-19.
“Sadly we didn’t get to play our senior season,” said Tallia. “It’s been a letdown. I don’t think any of us ever expected to not have a Senior Day ceremony. For the past three years, we got to see the seniors get their flowers and their posters.”
Outside of school, Tallia participated in La Vida Scholars, a Lynn community program that helps high-achieving students with resources to enter elite colleges. She also had an internship at Yes For Cure (Young Empowered Scientists for Continued Resarch Engagement).
She worked at the Foot Locker store at the North Shore Mall.
Appreciation for her
teacher Lauren Mezzetti
“Ms. Mezzetti definitely had the biggest impact in my whole high school career,” said Tallia. “She wrote my recommendation letter for QuestBridge. I nominated her for a Gates Presidential Scholarship.”
Lauren Mezzetti passed away in March after a 25-year career in the Lynn public school system, the last 15 years at Lynn English. She was a dedicated teacher and a great friend to her students.
“Ms. Mezzetti was my freshman biology teacher,” said Tallia. “She’s definitely the reason I’m pursuing the biomedical engineering as. My major at Tufts.”
She took the class on a field trip to Biogen and from that day on, I wanted to work in lab. She introduced me to a summer program and to H-Prep, a medical professions exposure program at Harvard.”
Tallia also credited guidance counselor Matthew Wilkins for his helpfulness throughout the college application process.
“All I can say is, ‘big thanks to Mr. Wilkins,’’’ said Tallia. “He worked really hard to help me get here, too. Applications, recommendations, everything – he was always there to help me with anything I needed.”
A big thank you to
her mother Lisa
Tallia is the daughter of Lisa Dudley. She has a brother, Noah Lima, who graduated from English in 2016, attended WPI, and is currently a student at Salem State University.
“Since a young age, my mother has been telling me that you need to do well in school,” said Tallia. “My mother is a paraprofessional at Sisson Elementary School in Lynn. She’s a single mother and I’d like to be able to give back to her in the future after seeing all that she’s done for me. She’s my best friend.”
Heading to Tufts
Tallia is happy that she will be a resident student at Tufts, but also that she won’t be far from home.
“Tufts is a perfect location so I’ll be able to come back and visit my mom often,” said Tallia, who turns 18 on May 22.
As for her current and future classmate Adnan Jalal, Tallia said, “We’re still be very good friends at Tufts.”