The KIPP boys volleyball team went 9-3 during the regular season. (COURTESY PHOTO )

LYNN — The KIPP boys volleyball team had a season to remember in 2018. The Panthers, with first-year head coach Evan Gallagher, went 9-3 during the regular season, finished second overall in the Massachusetts Charter School Athletic Organization and made it into the playoffs. And although their season ended with a loss in the tournament, the Panthers are happy with what they accomplished this year.

“It was a great all-around season and I was very happy with what we accomplished, said Gallagher. “Obviously, as a team you want to win it all, but we still had a great year and got great contributions from everyone on the team all year long. It was a great team effort.”

It’s always tough making the transition when a new coach comes to a team, but the Panthers didn’t suffer much with that. Gallagher, who teaches AP biology and environmental science at KIPP, already knew many of the kids and even had a few of them in his classes before taking over as volleyball coach.

“Considering KIPP is such a small school community, I already knew a few of the kids before I took over the job this year,” Gallagher said. “Not only that, but most of the kids knew each other as well, from playing together in previous years. So the team chemistry and that team culture were already very much instilled in everyone by the time I got there, which made things easier. From there, we just focused on becoming a better team on the court.”

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Victoria Chiek was the class valedictorian for KIPP and will attend Stanford University in the fall. (Spenser R. Hasak)

SAUGUS — KIPP Academy’s most recent valedictorian is off to Stanford University this fall. But it wasn’t easy getting her there.

Victoria Chiek graduated from the local charter school last week with the highest grade point average of her class, a weighted total of 4.35. The daughter of Cambodian immigrants applied to 24 universities, with an abundance of acceptance letters from schools such as Williams College, Amherst College, and Georgetown University. The Saugus resident decided on Stanford after it awarded her with the biggest scholarship. She will only have to pay $900 in tuition a year.

“I do have pressure as an Asian child and it’s rough because it’s sort of like my worth is awarded to me by my achievements, and I don’t see that with a lot of my classmates because their families give them unconditional support and praise no matter how well they do,” she said.

Chiek may have ended up exactly where she wanted, but the soon-to-be first generation college student faced many trials during her young scholarly career. She began in Lynn at Harrington Elementary School, but when her family moved to Saugus a year later she graduated from Veterans Memorial Elementary School. Next was Belmonte Middle School where she stayed until seventh grade.

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Lynn, Ma. 6-7-18. The KIPP staff at graduation. (Owen O’Rourke)

LYNN — KIPP stands for the “Knowledge is Power Program,” and Thursday, at City Hall, the academy celebrated that 100 percent of the seniors who were enrolled in the school last September marched across the stage and got diplomas.

“The graduation rate, nationwide, for Latin Americans is 75 percent, and it’s 74 percent for blacks,” said Manuel Lopez, a former teacher at KIPP in Lynn who now teaches at KIPP’s Infinity Middle School in New York.

“But tonight, for the Class of 2018, 100 percent of our seniors will graduate.”

That was the big news as the school awarded all 104 of those seniors diplomas.

Mayor Thomas M. McGee greeted the graduates by quoting the late Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated 50 years ago this past week.

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