- Massachusetts Probation Service
Media Contact for New program helps nurture and further illuminate “Stars” at Lawrence High
Coria Holland, Communications Director
Lawrence — A group of 30 young women who are students at Lawrence High School graduated on Monday, June 25, from Estrella, an initiative created to inspire and guide young Latina women. The ceremony was held at Northern Essex Community College in Lawrence. Estrella, which means “Star” in Spanish, was introduced by State Representative Juana Matias and Probate & Family Court Chief Justice Angela Ordoñez and implemented with the help of Estrella board members including Lawrence District Court Probation Officer Lidia Maldonado.
"I am thrilled with the success of the Estrella program as it has given these young women the opportunity to learn from successful women of color. We have empowered them to be proud of their background, embrace who they are and always reach for the stars,” said Chief Justice Ordoñez.
Serving as keynote speaker at the Estrella graduation was former US Attorney General Carmen Ortiz. Maldonado, who was presented with the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women’s 2018 Unsung Heroine Award on June 20, also spoke at the ceremony.
Estrella graduates shared their appreciation of the program and credited it with giving them a confidence boost, inspiring them to be more outspoken, and opening new opportunities, including introducing them to new career paths. Estrella participants also spoke of their deeper appreciation of their culture and identity, according to Maldonado.
Estrella was launched at Lawrence High School in September 2017 with a series of 10 workshops led by board members. The sessions featured such topics as financial literacy and accountability, healthy relationships, career paths, self-esteem, and individual and cultural identity. The young women also learned how to “polish their skills and networking and connecting themselves with necessary tools to be successful,” Maldonado said. About half of the group will be entering college this upcoming September, she said.
In addition to Maldonado, Chief Justice Ordoñez, and Representative Matias, other board members include: Chief Ordoñez's administrative assistant Marisol Mancia, Executive Director of the Latino Student Cultural Center at Northeastern University Rosa Williams, Assistant Register of Essex Probate & Family Court Yenny Hornedo, and co-founders of the Latina Circle: Betty Francisco and Eneida Roman, Lawrence School Committee Member Stacy Seward, and Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta.