Category: Program Updates

Our rising seniors sure had a busy summer! They did everything from SAT Prep to Youth Leadership to visiting their home countries – we’re so glad to have such proactive Scholars! Check out some photos from their adventures below!


Noonan Scholars (Learn More)

Seven students from our LVS 2018 class was part of an intensive summer academy held by Noonan Scholars in Boston, MA, where they strengthened their math and critical reading skills as well as got a head start on the college application process.


Yleana Leadership Academy (Learn More)

Three of our scholars went on to Yleana this summer – an intensive three-week SAT prep program in upstate NY! We hear some major leaps in scores were accomplished! Pictured below: Odilia Mendez (first on left) and friends.


Via Enlight Environmental Youth Leadership Program (Learn More)

Haytam Laroussi (front row, second from left) flew across the world to China for two-weeks to study environmental sustainability!


Engineering Summer Course

Bryan Palma-Flores (center, green hoodie) completed a three-week engineering course in New Hampshire. He even visited MIT in Boston, MA with his classmates!


Barnard College – Pre-College Summer Program

Eliana Lopez (top row, first from right) completed a rigorous summer semester at Barnard College in New York City, NY.



Olga Hernandez took a family trip to her family’s native Guatemala!

Hello everyone! This summer has been very busy – we’ve admitted our new LVS Class of 2020 (blog post about this coming soon!), hired new staff members, said goodbye to our intern, etc. However, despite being super booked this summer, there is one thing we’ve missed: our students!


We absolutely cannot wait for you to join us again in September. We have lots of fun activities planned, many new and interesting lessons to share with you, and, of course, plenty of fruit snacks.


So why is this a Throwback Thursday? We found pictures from our Salem Willows trip from back in June! See them below!
















by  Evan Aroko

Photo: Instagram – Forest Foundation Summer Interns (@ffsummerinterns)


Most people can agree that education is important for every man, woman and child on Earth. With it, people can work towards fulfilling their own life goals, desires and dreams. In my opinion, two of the most important aspects a person can receive during an educational journey are motivation and encouragement, whether it be from family, friends, literature, films, music, the list can go on. As a young adult, I have been extremely lucky enough to have grown up within various types of communities that constantly encourage and motivate, in regards to academic studies, personal hardships and just towards the ability to persevere in life.


Though, I have also found myself in communities that have dozens of low-income families, families who are unable to provide for and are unable to successfully nurture their own children’s academic lives. Within situations like these, children and teens can often lose hope, motivation and may not even receive enough or even meaningful encouragement. As a result, the full capabilities within these youth groups can be overlooked and sometimes even ignored.


Fortunately, there are dozen of existing and active organizations who see to it that kids obtain the guidance, resources and knowledge they need to gain a higher education.


La Vida Scholars is a non-profit organization that equips low-income, high-achieving Lynn, MA students with resources and preparation needed to enter great colleges. Though, the program and its staff go above and beyond, allowing their students to really feel apart of social, engaging and diverse communities. Through one on one mentoring and year round college prep classes, students grow both in their academic studies and their character persona for the better.


During my time with La-Vida, I have witnessed an impressive and sympathetic staff who dedicate loads of time to work with fun, bright, talented and intelligent scholars and, they truly enjoy doing so. La Vida staff members have built, and continue to build, strong relationships with scholars and their families. I’ve been fortunate enough to come across lots of scholars currently enrolled in the program and scholars who have graduated from the program and are happy and hardworking college students.


Saturday June 10th was the 2017 La-Vida Scholars Graduation, and all attendees had loads of fun and celebrated the achievements LS scholars had accomplished within their three year time with the program. It was also a time for reflection for both the scholars and the staff of LVS, for them to think about all the hard work completed from both groups.


One of the many highlights of this internship opportunity with La Vida was being a part of the program’s Fall recruitment process for their incoming student class. During this time, I was fortunate enough to read about and interview over sixty exceptional students who demonstrated what it means to be a hard worker, a leader and so much more. I was able to hear about and understand their own personal stories, which were both emotional and inspiring. At the end of our recruitment process, thirty high school students were chosen and welcomed into the La Vida program.


As my time as an intern at La Vida comes to a close, I am proud to say that I am much more appreciative of my academic life, family and friends. My confidence and optimism for my future life has greatly increased and I am more eager to pursue my dreams and goals.


Clearly lots of teens within Lynn are in good hands.


Evan Aroko (Centre College c/o 2020) was our 2017 Forest Foundation summer intern. We’ll miss him!

It’s been a bittersweet week for us. This Monday we met with our LVS 2017 senior class for the last time ever before graduation. We chose to make it an actual class – a COOKING class! It’s super important for our grads to know how to make some quick meals for those nights when the dining hall is closed and they’re starving after hours of homework.


Below are some pictures from our last supper!


Evelyn Deleon (aka Salt Bae) and Ruben Ruiz making some oven-baked chicken.


Jose Perez sneaking some cookie dough.


Group photo! Not all of our scholars could attend (some students had to get ready for Prom), but it was nice to have most of them together for a nice meal.


Ruben also made the pasta.

















Just a quick update on our Class Representatives’ latest accomplishment! Recently, they held a fundraiser at a local Chipotle, where they raised $894! Thank you to everyone who supported them. The funds raised will go towards planning a big end-of-year event for all current scholars sometime in June. Do you want to help plan the event? Meetings are held in the LVS office every Thursday at 4:30pm. We currently have two Class Representatives from each grade, but we’re always open to more input!

Friendly reminder that all future individual donations will be tripled by an anonymous donor. Now is the time to support La Vida Scholars. Click here to find out how.


Such an eventful month! Our program is soon beginning its most exciting phase: college decision month. We’ve received all the acceptances and most of the financial award letters – now only one question remains – where will you go? Don’t worry, that’s where La Vida helps you out. Over the next month, we will meet with each our senior families and discuss all the options available to them so they can make the best informed decision. And to our underclassmen, pay attention! This will be you in a year!




In December of 2016, our seniors collectively applied to 213 schools. After months of waiting, they’ve heard back and been accepted to 116 of those institutions. In March, we promised you a full list; here it is!


ACPHS Hamline University Stonehill College
Albertus Magnus College Hobart and William Smith Colleges Suffolk University
American University Hofstra University UC – Irvine
Bentley University Keene State College UMass – Amherst
Boston College LaSalle College UMass – Boston
Boston University Lesley University UMass – Dartmouth
BYU – Hawaii MassArt UMass – Lowell
BYU – Idaho MCPHS University of Connecticut
BYU – Provo Merrimack College University of Florida
Chapman University Miami University of Ohio University of Loyola – Chicago
Clark University New England College University of Maine
Denison University Northeastern University University of New England
Drexel University Providence College University of New Hampshire
Elms College Quinnipiac University University of Rhode Island
Emerson College Regis College University of Southern California
Emmanuel College RISD University of Utah
Endicott College Salem State University University of Vermont
Framingham State University Simmons College University of Virginia
Franklin Pierce College Skidmore College University of West Virginia
Gordon College SNHU Wheaton College
Hamilton College St. John’s University Wheelock College



Our 11th graders just got through their intensive 10-week Kaplan ACT course! The average score for the LVS 2018 class was a 22! The national average for the ACT is 21 – and 25% of the top ACT scores are scores of 24 or more, and area in which 5 of our students tested.


Juniors took the April ACT on Saturday, April 8, 2017.




The Math MCAS is coming! We’ve been preparing for the upcoming 10th grade exam for a couple weeks and feel confident that our scholars are ready to ace this test! Strong scores in the MCAS qualify students for the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, which pays for tuition at state colleges and universities!

We’d like to announce that an anonymous donor has agreed to triple all individual donations made to La Vida Scholars, though December 31, 2017. This is your opportunity to give!


Program Update


Welcome back everyone! This has been such an exciting month – we hope you find the profiles of our current and past students interesting! If you have any feedback about our blog or if there’s any topic you’d like for us to explore, please let us know!



Our 12th graders continue to get accepted into their top colleges and universities. Their acceptance number has gone up to 67 since last month’s 43! Some of those school are: Hofstra University, Lesley University, MassArt, Hobart and William Smith College, Wheaton College, Clark University, UMass Boston, Lowell, Dartmouth, and Amherst, LaSalle University, UConn, Brigham Young University, Stonehill College, and more! Late March and early April are primetime for admission decisions – we’ll have the full list available in a few weeks!


With each college acceptance, students receive a financial aid award letter, a document that is instrumental for a student’s final college choice. We strive to help all our students make the most conscious decisions and have them weigh the pros and cons of each acceptance, using factors such as academic programs, location, and affordability.


A monumental part of the affordability factor is the success a student has in applying to and winning scholarships. Just this month, our students applied to many national, regional, and local scholarships, such as United Way’s Marian L. Heard Scholarship.


Juniors and Sophomores


After weeks of Kaplan ACT Test Prep, we decided to take all of our 10th and 11th grade students to visit some nearby colleges. During winter break, we went to Bridgewater State University, UMass Dartmouth, and College of the Holy Cross. Below are some pictures from our trip! More available on our Facebook page!

We’d like to thank everyone who volunteered with us this year for MLK Day of Service – we made almost 300 paracord bracelets!


Program Update


Hello! Hope you enjoyed our first month of blogging! In January, you learned more about Jose Perez (LVS ‘17), Melvin and Alba Roman (Inversant Saving Circle), and Anna Martinez (Barnard ‘19). We hope that through these posts, you get to know the faces of our program and learn more about them as people – they really do have exceptional stories!




Our 12th grade class has been accepted to 43 colleges and universities – that’s just early action schools! Regular decision admission acceptances come out sometime in late March and early April; can’t wait to find out where our seniors get offers from! We’ll keep you posted!


As the college application season dwindles, the scholarship season comes with full force. Our students have their eyes peeled for scholarships that are due soon – such as the Yawkey Scholars program and the Red Pine Scholarship.


Additionally, we have David Lopez from our Board of Directors coming in each week to teach our seniors about Financial Literacy in partnership with Santander Bank. Yesterday was their first class; they learned about banks, credit cards, and rates – it definitely got their interest!




This month, we started Kaplan ACT Prep! Two weeks ago, all our Juniors took the diagnostic exam and they averaged a score of 21 (the national average!) with some students scoring as high as 26 on their first try! ACT classes run each week for all our current juniors; we even had some spots available and invited students from other college-prep programs to join in!


Our juniors are working hard on their scholarship efforts; 16 of them just applied for the Christian A. Herter Memorial Scholarship last week. This was their first scholarship application EVER, requiring them to reach out to teachers and community leaders for recommendation and nomination letters, figure out how to get an official transcript from their high school, navigate through financial paperwork, and write an autobiographical essay.


We’d like to congratulate the eight juniors who received admission into the Noonan Scholars program! We’re so proud of you! Get ready for a summer of learning!




Our 10th graders are the most energetic part of our entire week! Ten of them applied to the Christian A. Herter Scholarship (just like our juniors did!) and the students that didn’t apply still had to submit autobiographical essays to sharpen their writing skills.


Some of the topics that our 30 sophomores are currently learning about include: learning styles, introduction to college applications, and navigating college websites. We like to test out their knowledge of the topics discussed with in-class Jeopardy-style review. They can get a little competitive!


Happy 2017! We’re so excited for this upcoming year, one of change and growth. We’ve revamped our website and hope to show you a little bit more about what happens at LVS by starting a weekly blog focusing on our students, alumni, families, and general updates.


All of our seniors have applied to colleges and universities – 198 to be exact! They’ve applied to schools as close to home as Salem State University in Salem, MA and as far as Chapman University in Malibu, CA. Most of them applied to quite a few schools Early Action and have already received 17 acceptances total! Our very own Ismael Aquino (LCHS ‘17) has locked in a full-tuition Posse scholarship to Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. Pack your snowshoes, Ismael!


Our Class of 2018 has worked hard over the past couple of months to plan out their summer before senior year. Some of the programs they’re applying to are LEDA Scholars, Noonan Scholars, and Yleana Leadership Academy. Just last week, we received word that eight of our juniors made it to the semi-finalist round of Noonan Scholars – congrats! The entire junior class is also currently working on the Christian A. Herter Memorial Scholarship, due in early February.


This year, we accepted 30 students into our sophomore class (10 more than our usual 20) due to a challenge grant we received over the summer. It’s allowed us to welcome more students into our program and help more families reach their goals of higher education. Our sophomores are also applying to the Christian A. Herter Memorial Scholarship, their first ever scholarship application!


We hope this blog gives you a chance to see the inner workings of our program, as well as get to know our amazing scholars. Below is a video of our 2016 Holiday Party, enjoy!