SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The late Massachusetts U.S. Congressman Edward Boland’s philosophy was to give back and focus on education. That’s now his legacy through a scholarship in his name, presented each year at the Springfield elementary school, also in his name.
“All the young people that were around him, he insisted they improve themselves by education, so it was a really big thing for him so we’re trying to continue that,” said Mary Boland, Congressman Boland’s widow.
In regards to a recent surge in violence, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said investing in education is key to improving public safety.
For Kaylee-Anna Williams, this money will help her attend UMass Amherst’s Pre-Med program. “It helps a lot. I have a son, a 2-year-old son, so finances are kind of hard and difficult for me, so for them to give me help and aid is very, I’m very thankful for that, because even a little goes a long way,” Williams told 22News.
Since 1990, half a million dollars in scholarship funds has helped students from the region Congressman Boland once represented, the Massachusetts Second Congressional District.
This award doesn’t just honor high school seniors but also college students who have proven their commitment to education year after year, something Congressman Boland valued throughout his life.
“I’m working 80 hours a week so this is great, making 9, 10 dollars an hour. It takes a long time to make the money that I’m getting from this scholarship,” said Chris Madden, who will be a junior next semester at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire.
The Jackson family knows the expense of a good education. Both daughters, Brianna and Emily, earned the Boland Scholarship: Brianna, who will be a junior next semester at Smith College, for the third time.
“It’s really important for them I think to Earn money on their own and contribute to their college education I think.”
Four recipients were immigrants who overcame language barriers to then graduate top of their class. They’ll join many other award-winners at local colleges: a testimony to the opportunities available right here in Western Massachusetts.