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Sun Life Financial awards two high school seniors with $5,000 scholarships before Celtics game

Posted by Ryan Butler  November 7, 2013 12:07 PM

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Sun Life Rising Star Award Recipient Melvin Harrison (Roxbury hometown); Co-owner of the Boston Celtics Steve Pagliuca; Celtics GuardRajon Rondo; Sun Life Rising Star Award Recipient Aylin Garcia Soto (Roslindale hometown); and Sun Life Regional Group Manager Stephen Reynolds. (Photo Courtesy of Sun Life Financial.)

Sun Life Financial surprised two deserving high school seniors Wednesday night with a special presentation and $5,000 scholarships at TD Garden before the Boston Celtics played the Utah Jazz.

Aylin Garcia Soto of O’Bryant High School and Melvin Harrison of Boston Day & Evening Academy were honored, and then watched the game with their families in style via suite.

Not to mention these two rising stars were able to meet Celtic superstar Rajon Rondo on the Celtic’s hardwood court.

“I’m so shocked,” Soto said. “I didn’t know I was going to get the scholarship. It’s not that I’m a bad student or anything; actually I do really well at O’Bryant. But still, I’m just in shock. I’m really happy to have the opportunity to get this scholarship.”

Sun Life has been awarding these “Rising Star Scholarships” for four years now, and has expanded its reach through 14 different cities. A total of $110,000 in scholarships and grants has been awarded to Boston students and various non-profit organizations this year alone.

“Our mission at Sun Life with our Rising Star scholarships is to help protect what these kids value in their lives most,” Portland branch Manager Stephen Reynolds said during the presentation.

Soto and Harrison were nominated by community organizations Bottom Line and Brookview House, who we’re also awarded a $50,000, grant each on behalf of their desire to provide Boston’s urban youth with collegiate opportunities and improve their quality of life.

Both based out of Boston, Bottom Line guides high school seniors on their college search while Brookview House provides a community setting for homeless mothers and children while giving them the necessary skills they need to succeed.

Wednesday was definitely a night of jubilation and fun for Soto and Harrison, and the special event concluded with these Rising Stars watching the Celtics get their first win of the season.

For more information on Sun Life Financial’s Rising Star Awards, click here.

Ryan M. Butler covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @butler_globe or @BPSspts.

About Boston Public Schools Sports Blog

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
  • Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.