By SHARON LEE

Four years ago, Mona Cheng joined the Malden High School Class of 2013 as a shy, young girl from Chelsea. Now, a self-confidant Cheng is ready to graduate as sixth in her class, as well as a Posse Scholar.

Unlike most freshmen entering MHS, Cheng did not know many MHS freshmen at the time because she did not have the opportunity to go to middle school with them. The move from Chelsea made the transition difficult for Cheng. Cheng expresses her hesitance “to join clubs because she did not know the people in them.” Cheng started out, as she describes, “painfully shy and scared to approach anyone because of what they would think of [her].” Cheng soon came to realize that everyone at MHS was genuinely nice and not quick to judge, allowing her to feel comfortable and be more outgoing.

Cheng believes “the friendships you make and the experiences you have in high school are also very important,” which she has found to be true in the past few years. From 10th grade on, Cheng was a student in Rick Tivnan’s homeroom. She recalls not speaking a word to him for her entire sophomore year, but by senior year she had grown comfortable joking around and talking to him about practically anything. Although Cheng started out shy at first, students who walk through the halls of MHS are greeted daily with Cheng’s bright and friendly personality.

Throughout Cheng’s high school career, she has become involved in many groups, from serving as Historian of the Interact Club to National Honor Society, where she led Packs for Pals, a service project that raised money and collected donations of learning supplies that were organized into backpacks and donated to children in need through the Department of Children Families (DCF). Cheng and her peers were able to successfully donate 30 backpacks full of supplies and are working towards collecting more. In addition, Cheng has contributed to the Class of 2013 Leadership Council, an where she recalls having some of her favorite high school memories when her whole class came together for Junior Varieties. She loves that Junior Varieties brought together a variety of people with different talents.

At the beginning of her senior year, Cheng had thought she would someday end up at a business school in state like Bentley University or Babson College. With that in mind, she was hesitant to accept her Posse nomination, but Boyle House Guidance Counselor Erin Craven noticed Cheng’s potential and encouraged her to try it. Cheng was soon passing the rounds of Posse. Before she knew it, Cheng became a Posse finalist. On the night of her last interview, Cheng was too anxious to go home that night, knowing that, despite they told her it would be a two week waiting period,  many other scholars were notified earlier that evening.

In the fall, Cheng will be attending Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, as a Posse scholar and a Global Management major on a pre-law track.  She is part of the first generation of her family to attend college, following in the footsteps of her two older sisters. Cheng is especially thankful for Craven and Principal Dana Brown who believed in her and gave her the extra push to give Posse a chance.Cheng has achieved academically and grown personally during her years at MHS and she will in her future at Bucknell University.

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