By Jennifer Boes
FRYEBURG, Maine – Good grades and good citizenship enabled two Lawrence sisters to earn significant four-year financial awards to Fryeburg Academy, a town academy in Fryeburg, Maine that educates students from around the world. Now they would like to share the experience, and their keys to success, with other local teens.
Laura Monegro, 15, and Angie Monegro, 14, moved to Lawrence with their parents and seven siblings 10 years ago.”Our father wanted us to have a better future,” Laura said. “It was hard to leave our extended family behind but we try to visit them at least once a year.”
The girls, born exactly one year apart, are pursuing their father’s dream. Laura has been attending the academy for two years. This is Angie’s first year. Both were exceptional students at Community Day Charter Public School (CDCPS) in Lawrence prior to being accepted to Fryeburg Academy. Laura first learned about the academy when she met admissions representatives at the annual CDCPS high school placement night. Angie followed her sister to Fryeburg Academy the following year.
Stephanie Morin, the academy’s director of enrollment and marketing, says, “The girls bring so much positive energy to our community. Laura is more quiet and reserved than Angie, but both girls are extremely friendly. Laura is a member of the Daniel Webster Society, the Academy’s tour guide program and is the only student who was selected to give tours as a freshman.”
Morin adds that the girls’ exemplary community service records also impressed the admissions staff. While at CDCPS, Laura was active in a school group that volunteered in and around Lawrence.
Some of her projects included picking up street litter then recycling it and cleaning up a local veteran’s cemetery. In addition to participating in local fund-raising events like the Spicket River Cleanup and the New England Pediatric Care Cool Kids Road Race, Angie has contributed her time to fundraisers benefitting causes in Japan, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Angie says, “I love community service.I do it as much as I can in my free time.”
While going to school in Lawrence, Angie logged more than 250 volunteer hours, and Governor Deval Patrick mentioned her exemplary citizenship in his inauguration speech. She was then chosen to represent Lawrence at Project 311, a statewide event honoring one community service-oriented youth from each city. This time she met the Governor in person.
“We got to take pictures with the Governor,” Angie says. “Mine is framed in my living room at home. It was such an extraordinary experience, and I would re-live it any day.”
At Fryeburg Academy, Laura’s favorite subjects are chemistry and English. Angie shares her sister’s love of English in addition to enjoying French, the arts, math, and her science classes.
Angie likes the sports programs as well. She adds, “There are so many sports that I have never done with an actual team and knowing that I’m part of a team makes me very happy. I’ve never done softball, ever, but I am trying out for the school softball team this spring.”
Going to school with other teens from more than 10 states and 25 countries has also helped broaden the girls’ horizons. Laura says, “It has exposed us to so many people we would not have had the opportunity to meet if we had stayed in Lawrence.”
The sisters would like other Lawrence teens to know that opportunities exist for them if they are willing to work to achieve their goals. Laura and Angie feel the most important advice they can give is to make education a priority.
“For this period in your life, it’s okay to put yourself first,” Laura says. “Don’t think about boys. That’s just a distraction. Think about what you need to do to get further in life. Study hard, but don’t forget to have fun with friends.” Angie adds, “To accomplish your dreams, you need to focus on your education and family. That’s what got me here.”
After high school, Laura plans on attending a New England college to pursue a psychology degree with a minor in music. She also wants to continue giving back.
Laura says, “If I am so fortunate to make a lot of money,I hope to give it away to as many charities as possible.”
Angie hasn’t decided on her major, but at 14 she’s got plenty of time to decide. “I’m working on it,” she says. “I have so many options to choose from.”