Submitted by Marie C. Kalita, Mercy High School.
Mercy High School Announces the Valedictorian and Salutatorian for the Class of 2021; Leaders of Outstanding, Inspiring Class
Mercy High School has announced with great pride that Kaila Lujambio of Wallingford is Valedictorian of the Class of 2021 and Giuliana Judge of Killingworth is Salutatorian of the Class of 2021. The formal announcement, made by Alissa DeJonge ’95, president of Mercy High School, came following the traditional annual Senior Class Tree Dedication Ceremony on the Middletown campus on Wednesday, May 5.
During their years attending Mercy, Kaila and Giuliana amassed impeccable academic records, were actively involved in school organizations and activities, earned numerous awards and recognition, and were dedicated community volunteers. They are headed to college in the fall, having earned admission to Connecticut’s flagship university, the University of Connecticut.
“We are incredibly proud of Kaila and Giuliana, and all that they have accomplished during their years at Mercy,” said Alissa DeJonge ’95, president of Mercy High School. “They are individuals of character and commitment, inspiring leaders who set a great example for their peers, and reflect a dedication and determination to excel in their studies and in their community. They are impressive young women who aspire to make a difference, and we are confident that their hard work will advance their efforts to realize their aspirations.”
Kaila Lujambio, daughter of Julio and Carolina Lujambio of Wallingford, is an outgoing and inspiring student leader, an elite student-athlete who is highly regarded among her peers for being compassionate, industrious and charismatic. An extremely well-rounded student with a range of interests, strong work ethic, and extraordinary capacity to affect change, she is a stand-out athlete and considerate teammate, and is enthusiastic about her Mercy education.
Kaila was recently named a Scholar Athlete by the Southern Connecticut Conference, and is a National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar. At Mercy, her many activities included serving as Vice President of Justice and Peace, where she worked on expanding student-led social justice initiatives, as a Senior Peer Ministry Leader, and a member of the Mercy Broadcast Journalism Club, Math Club, Ecology Club, Medical Minds Club, and Ambassadors Club, where she was a school ambassador for Mercy open house events and school visits by prospective students and their families. She was President of the Spanish National Honor Society, a member of the Math Honor Society, Head Editor of Mercy News, a section of Mercy Broadcast Journalism Club and a Homeroom Advisory Representative.
While a high school student, she participated in the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Youth Leadership Institute and the HSF Scholar Youth Leadership Conference, which is attended by the top 400 Latino rising high school seniors in the nation. Kaila has received training and certification as an emergency medical responder, attended UConn Health’s High School Mini Medical/Dental Program in 2020, and Sacred Heart University’s Human Anatomy and Physiology Exploration of Structure and Function Summer Science Enrichment Program.
Among her many volunteer activities, Kaila was project leader and founder of the “A Butterfly of Love” student-led community services project, which fundraised, prepared and delivered care packages to front line workers, patients and people at risk during the pandemic. She has also been a health clinic volunteer at the Migrant Farm Workers Health Clinic, where she interacted with patients, took vitals, and acted as a Spanish interpreter at numerous farms in Connecticut.
Her familiar #19 was always worn with pride and her accomplishments on the athletic fields were as inspiring as those in the classroom and in the community. Kaila excelled in indoor and outdoor track and field, basketball and soccer, serving as a team co-captain, earning a place in state championships and being recognized with All-SCC honors. She has also been an assistant coast for youth camps, is an American Red Cross certified babysitter, and a volunteer at Holy Trinity School in Wallingford. Kaila and her family attend Most Holy Trinity Church in Wallingford.
Kaila will be attending the University of Connecticut’s Special Program in Dental Medicine, and has earned the prestigious Stamps Scholarship from the university and the UConn Foundation.
Reflecting on Kaila, Giuliana and the Class of 2021, DeJonge noted that the students’ four years at Mercy included unprecedented challenges, due to the safety guidelines required by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Kaila, Giuliana and the entire Class of 2021 demonstrated resiliency and poise, perseverance and thoughtfulness as they navigated the challenges of the past year, plus the culmination of their high school years,” observed DeJonge. “We could not be more proud of how well they have moved forward, continued to learn and to lead, and did not lessen their devotion to their families, friends and community or their studies and school activities. Each and every student should look back on their years at Mercy with pride and satisfaction, and Kaila and Giuliana have truly led the way.”
The Mercy High Schools Class of 2021 Salutatorian, Giuliana Judge, is the daughter of Robert Judge and Rosetta Lucatino-Judge of Killingworth. The family are members of St. Lawrence Church in Killingworth.
Giuliana is a student of remarkable intellect, known for being knowledgeable and eloquent, brilliant and resourceful, and all the while extraordinarily humble. She expresses herself thoughtfully, integrating concepts that reflect a depth of understanding and evoking experiences and academic exploration. She has a devotion to scholarship that is reflected in her class assignments and was plainly evident and inspirational to peers as well as teachers during her four years at Mercy.
During her high school years, she earned the Harvard Book Prize, department honors in AP United States History, Honors Chemistry and Ceramics, and was Maxima Cum Laude in the National Latin Exam for two consecutive years. She was a participant in Mercy’s Mock Trial program and served as co-captain this school year, String Orchestra, Math National Honor Society, and Latin National Honor Society/Junior Classical League. She is a member of the National Honor Society and volunteers with Mercy Ambassadors, a school club that connects with new Mercy students and advocates for the school.
Giuliana is an active and engaged volunteer, with organizations including the Killingworth Library Association, Police Activity League, Saint Lawrence Church, and Hands On Hartford. She also works part-time in the retail industry. Giuliana will be attending the University of Connecticut in the fall.