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SENIOR CLASS $URPRI$E: City will provide a $1,000 Scholarship to every college-bound high school senior in Malden

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Mayor Christenson announces first-in-Mass. financial boost at MHS Senior Scholarship Night

Malden Mayor Gary Christenson brought more than just the traditional “Greetings from the City” to the annual Malden High School Senior Scholarship Night Tuesday evening. He also brought down the house. With a stunning, unprecedented announcement, Mayor Christenson drove the entire audience of students and their families to its feet in a crescendo of applause. Mayor Christenson told the members of the MHS Class of 2022 that every senior planning on furthering their education at the college level in the fall will be receiving a $1,000 scholarship from the City of Malden.

In a city known to be a leader on many issues and on frequent fronts, Malden becomes the first community of the 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth to announce such a commitment to its “young people of the moment” this high school graduation season.

With over 85 percent of this year’s Malden High graduating class of 444 committed to college for the fall, the city will be making an investment of over $400,000 in the future of this year’s graduating class. The commitment approaches $500,000 when Malden residents who are college-bound seniors in other local and area high schools are included.

Mayor Christenson said these students in the Class of 2022 have faced a trying challenge like no other during the COVID-19 pandemic during the past two years. Rising college costs have added to the obstacles they and their families are facing. “We want to show them that we appreciate all that they have had to deal with during their time in high school,” the Mayor said in an online report. “From being in school, to being out of school, from having to wear a mask to not having to wear a mask, from having to be tested to not having to be tested – it was stressful for them and for their families.”

The Class of 2022 students and their families have had to deal with the full force of the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. “Our students who are graduating in 2022 have endured the brunt of the COVID-19 health crisis. From remote learning, to lost earnings opportunities (for them and their families) during the pandemic, the impact has been real,” the Mayor added in a statement released Wednesday.

The City of Malden will fund the first-in-Mass. financial boost with federal funds provided to Malden through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The federal (ARPA) funds, which provided Malden with a one-time $45.7 million grant, provide the ability for cities to address the negative impacts of COVID-19. The City of Malden has been hard at work utilizing these ARPA funds to impact the community in a myriad of positive ways. (See separate story.)

The plan to give a direct infusion of assistance to Malden’s college-bound seniors came after a recent discussion between Mayor Christenson, Malden City Council President Craig Spadafora (at-large) and Ward 1 Councillor Peg Crowe, who has been long active as a founding member of the city’s municipal Scholarship Committee. The Mayor said Councillor Crowe noted how difficult it has been to raise funds for scholarship assistance for students since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is now in its third year affecting our lives.

“We know that the cost of college is daunting to most families, made worse by the impacts of the pandemic,” Mayor Christenson said. “We hope that this will make it just a little easier for our families.”

At one of the most important – and vulnerable – times of their lives, Mayor Christenson said, it was essential the city’s college-bound seniors got some direct assistance. “What these students have had to face the past several years is not supposed to happen when you’re in high school. Words cannot really describe what these seniors have been through,” Mayor Christenson, himself a 1986 Malden High graduate, said. “This is some assistance these students deserve to help them move forward in their lives.”

Malden Mayor Gary Christenson was all smiles immediately after he announced the City of Malden’s plan to issue $1,000 scholarships to every college-bound member of the city’s senior Class of 2022 at Malden High’s Senior Scholarship night on Tuesday.
Any Malden resident who is a college-bound senior in the Class of 2022 will receive a $1,000 scholarship grant from the City of Malden this year, Mayor Gary Christenson announced Tuesday night.

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