FRAMINGHAM (CBS) – As the school year wraps up, it can be a time to close one door and open another.

Erica Mendoza, a new graduate of Framingham High School, will be going onto the College of the Holy Cross. She’ll be the first person in her family to go to college.

Much of Mendoza’s bright future is the result of a mentoring program that pays tribute to a young man who died far too young.

The John Andrew Mazie Memorial Foundation was created at Framingham High in 1998.  Lowell Mazie was looking for a way to honor his son who was killed by a drunk driver.

“He had a pet peeve and a pet concern and that was for the plight of young people who, through no fault of their own, found it very difficult to have a successful life,” explained Mazie.

The program has mentored more than 550 teens in Framingham and is now up and running at Waltham High as well.

“We have a big holistic job that we do, to try to increase self-esteem, increase self-confidence. We have a goal program which teaches them how to set and achieve goals, which John, our son, felt was very important,” added Mazie.

Mendoza says her mentor Andrea Carr-Evans was invaluable as she tried to navigate her way thru the college application process.

“I had no knowledge of what I had to do,” she told WBZ-TV.

Many of the students in the program are like Mendoza, first generation Americans without much experience in higher education.

Carr-Evans believes the mentoring process is critical.

“There are so many other kids in the mentor program that are really smart, have so much potential, but they don’t know how to take the steps,” she said.

Mendoza said this program changed her life for the better and she hopes to become a veterinarian one day.

Mazie believes that is the type of legacy that honors his son.

“He’d be very proud. Very proud.”



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