MEXICO — When Lacey Gallant saw a story last year in a local newspaper about the student of the year at the Region 9 School of Applied Technology, she knew she wanted to be that person this year.

“I’m going to be that,” the 18-year-old Mexico resident said.

It wasn’t a stretch at all, said her teacher, Terri Provencher.

“It doesn’t get any better than her. She’s always there for anything and everything,” Provencher said.

Lacey will be honored with Career Technical Education Students of the Year from all the other secondary technology schools in the state on Saturday at a banquet at the Lewiston Technology Center.

“I was so ecstatic,” she said of the honor.

She is completing the two-year program in Early Childhood Education at Region 9.

“I love coming to Region 9. I love being with the children. Eventually, I want to have my own day care,” she said. “Their personalities and smiles – you can be having a terrible day and then you see a smile and boom, you feel better.”

Lacey said she knew working with young children was what she wanted to do in life when her now, 8-year-old sister, Lindsay Arsenault, was born.

“I never wanted to be away from her,” she said.

Lacey plans to attend the University of Maine at Presque Isle in the fall with double majors in early childhood and elementary education.

She wants to get that education, get a good-paying job, then get married and have children of her own. She wants to make a difference in children’s lives, she said.

When she’s not at the Region 9 early childhood program, she is a regular baby sitter for several families, and has worked as a waitress and housekeeper.

She also plays varsity soccer and softball, and is an honor roll student at Mountain Valley High School.

A letter written by Region 9 staff in support of Lacey for CTE Student of the Year said she is a composed, bright young woman who is a leader in the classroom and in the preschool environment.

“Her determination has been steady as she has set goals for herself and accomplished them,” the letter said.

“I’m excited about starting college. It will be another chapter in my life,” she said.

Lacey and her parents, Loriann Rumley and Michael Gallant, along with Region 9 student services coordinator, Cheryl Ellis, will attend Saturday’s banquet.

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