A student at a Massachusetts technical school has been named a 2017 Presidential Scholar.
Alkenly Ortiz, a senior at Greater Lawrence Technical School, received the honor from the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program in the career and technical education category. He is the first student his school has nominated.
Ortiz, a Dominican Republic native and a Lawrence resident, is working to complete a carpentry program and is preparing for a career in architecture.
In his application for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, Ortiz wrote that he wants to help end homelessness, an issue about which he became passionate after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, about 100 miles from his home.
"That earthquake experience made me realize that I wanted to help out in world crisis issues with something that I have a passion for," he wrote, according to a statement from Greater Lawrence Technical School. "Homelessness continues to be a struggle for every generation, but I believe we can take the steps necessary to solve it."
Ortiz is one of five Massachusetts students to get the award this year. The others include Sivaram Emani of Roxbury Latin School in Boston; Amir Siraj of Brookline High School; and Catherine Wang of Lexington High School. Other New England recipients include Kristen Richichi, Jackson Walker and William Yin of Connecticut; Joshua Reynolds and Ellen Stanton of Maine; Connor Craige, Ria Das and Gavin Shilling of New Hampshire; Sydney Jenkins and Andrew Lee of Rhode Island; and Anders Ode and Abigail Yu of Vermont.