TEWKSBURY — On Friday, Dec. 18, the Tewksbury Rotary Club virtually honored TMHS members of the class of 2021, Maria Luiza Zeleya DaSilva and Michael Duggan for receiving the December 2020 Hat’s Off Award.
The Hat’s Off Award is a joint initiative of the Tewksbury Rotary Club and the Tewksbury Memorial High School to recognize students who have distinguished themselves both academically and civically in the community.
Maria Luiza Zelaya DaSilva, daughter of Sandra Zelaya and Freddy Encalada, was nominated by TMHS staff member Karen Hodgson for her dedication to helping others master the English language as she has done for herself.
DaSilva came to live in the United States just five years ago. She arrived from Brazil without any knowledge of the English language or American culture.
After just three years in the ELL classes at TMHS, DaSilva was able to master the English language and enter the English honors class. She is also fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.
Because DaSilva is trilingual, she spends most of her free time volunteering to help fellow students who may be struggling with their schoolwork due to a language barrier.
DaSilva also helps the TMHS Guidance department welcome new students that have not yet mastered the English language. She also tries to help them get acclimated to their new school and surroundings by giving tours of the school and helping them to communicate with their new teachers.
When not running through the halls of TMHS helping others, DaSilva is running on the track as an active member of the TMHS girls varsity track team.
DaSilva also manages to find time to work park time with her uncle at his cabinet company, and assist her mother’s business with English translation.
Michael Duggan, son of Tammy and Chris Duggan, was nominated by the TMHS Athletics Department for his hard work and determination on and off the field.
Duggan’s academic achievements include being an active member of the National Honor Society, ranking in the top 10 percent of his class, and receiving the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship.
Also known to be a true team player by his coaches and teammates, both in the classroom and on the field, Duggan is an active member of the TMHS varsity football and baseball teams. He also has represented TMHS at the MIAA Sportsmanship Summit.
Duggan has channeled his passion for athletics back to his community by volunteering his time at several Tewksbury Youth Baseball and Football programs and camps.
Participating in extra-curricular activities between classes and sports has reinforced Duggan’s desire to help others.
Duggan is an active member of DECA, and paticipated in ticket sales for the Megan McCarthy Fashion Show. He is also an Executive Board member of the Best Buddies program, and devotes time each week to tutoring students in need of academic help.
Somehow, Duggan also manages to work part time for Duggan and Sons Construction.
Both DaSilva and Duggan’s hard work and determination will lead to bigger and better things for them, as DaSilva hopes to prove by becoming the first person in her family to go to college.
A bright future is surely in store for these two well deserved Hat’s Off Award recipients.