The Upper Room, a family resource center in Derry, presented its annual Bavaro Foundation Scholarship awards recently to two area women who plan to attend college and continue with community service work. Upper Room Executive Director Kim Bavaro, center, presented the $500 awards to Mallory Joel, left, and Amy Gendreau.

DERRY | The Upper Room honored two young women who want to make a difference in the world after they graduate from high school this year.

Mallory Joel, 17, and Amy Gendreau, 18, received this year's Bavaro Foundation Scholarship awards | $500 each for the two seniors, who hope to continue with their community service work after they graduate.

Upper Room Executive Director Kimberly Bavaro presented the awards prior to a board of directors meeting Tuesday.

The annual scholarship is named for Bavaro's father-in-law, John "Butch" Bavaro, a longtime supporter of the Upper Room and an active volunteer who worked on everything from fundraisers to painting projects to anything else that needed to be done around the Tsienneto Road family resource center.

Bavaro died in 2005, but his memory lives on in the scholarship, his daughter-in-law said.

Each applicant had to compose a 1,000-word essay to accompany the scholarship application, Bavaro added. The money awarded can be used by the winners for college tuition costs, books, or any other expenses for higher education.

Bavaro said the two winners' essays were "such a pleasure to read." She added that there was something special about the words each girl wrote and told them they both would always be part of the Upper Room family.

Joel will graduate from Bishop Brady High School and plans to attend Hamilton College and major in creative writing. The Merrimack student wrote in her essay that she was inspired to reach out and help people following the death of a friend's mother to cancer. Joel has been active in the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Walk, and various other events supporting causes important to her.

"It's about being able to give back and help other people," she said.

For Pinkerton Academy senior Amy Gendreau, college means having a chance to study elementary education.

She plans to attend Keene State College in the fall and hopes to continue working with young children. Right now, Gendreau volunteers at Derry Village School and helps tutor students in reading.

She also participates in the Pinkerton And Little Students program and works after school at East Derry Memorial Elementary School's extended day program.

"It's extremely important for me to make a difference in children's lives," Gendreau said, "and to be a role model."

Bavaro congratulated both girls and wished them well in their post-high school ventures.

"There are some wonderful young people out there doing wonderful things," she said. "You are our future. We are so fortunate to have you as part of the Upper Room family."

This Week's Circulars