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Abigail Gauch: Upstanding Citizen Scholarship

Abigail Gauch

Melrose – Melrose High School senior Abigail Gauch was recently awarded a $2,500 Upstanding Citizen Scholarship from Wakefield Co-operative Bank for her compassion, drive, integrity and leadership.

Abigail was selected by Melrose High School Principal Jason Merrill to receive the scholarship for her instrumental efforts and advocacy on both local and state levels to help get Bill S.2984 signed into law in January 2021. This health care bill includes both the creation of a PANDAS/PANS Advisory Council and a mandate that insurance companies provide coverage for the disease.

“Abby has overcome tremendous adversity and her personal drive has gotten her to where she is today,” said Merrill. “She shows compassion to her classmates every day as a peer and student advocate.”

Abigail has bravely and publicly shared her own personal story with PANDAS/PANS, an auto-immune disease that presents itself in children when there is a misdirected immune response, causing inflammation of the brain and resulting in severe symptoms of anxiety, tics, changes in personality disorder and sensory issues. After many years of dealing with PANDAS/PANS, Abigail now receives healing treatment that enabled her to return to school in Melrose and plan ahead for her future education.

“All of us here at Wakefield Co-operative Bank are in awe of what Abigail has accomplished and endured over the last ten years,” said Jeff Worth, President & CEO of WCB. “We were humbled to learn about her personal story of strength and perseverance, and could not be prouder to present Abby with this Upstanding Citizen Scholarship.”

Abigail is planning to attend a four year college with a future path intertwining psychology, healthcare and advocacy, and will continue to tell her story openly so others can learn from her journey.

“Abby has worked so hard to achieve what she has – and has fought against the odds,” said Sheilah Gauch, Abby’s mother. “We are so proud of Abby and are heartened by the bank’s recognition by awarding her this amazing honor.”

Pictured here: Mohammed Bezzat, VP, Retail Administration & Business Development Officer; Abigail Gauch; Jeff Worth, President & CEO Wakefield Co-operative Bank; Jason Merrill, Melrose High School Principal; Leena McQuaid, Universal Banker, Melrose Branch.


Wakefield Co-operative Bank (WCB) is a 130+ year old mutual institution headquartered in Wakefield, Massachusetts operating under a co-operative bank structure. Being a mutual means that it has no stockholders and issues no public offerings. Wakefield Co-operative Bank’s Main Office is located at 342 Main Street in Wakefield, MA and it has two other branch locations: 596 Main Street in Lynnfield, MA and 526 Main Street in Melrose. It is the bank’s mission to provide exceptional service and innovative products, with the vision of seeing every one of its customers achieve their personal financial goals and success.