Valedictorian: Julianna Carney


Shannon Ahearn

Juliana Carney with coach and CTE teacher, Marsha Turek.

Shannon Ahearn, Photography Editor

When describing senior Julianna Carney, friends and coaches find it impossible to not label her as hardworking, a lover of learning, and an inspiration to those around her. As she ends her high school career as the valedictorian of the Class of 2018, Carney is surrounded by nothing but support for her achievements.

“Julie has been someone I’ve looked up [to] and seeing her try to be her best and knowing she’s accomplished what she’s wanted to accomplish for a long time with track and with academics is a really cool thing to watch as a friend,” said Carney’s close friend, sophomore Caroline Williams.

“I’ve known Julie since her eighth grade—my seventh—and I remember her telling me she was valedictorian then, too,” adds junior Erin Maida. “I know she puts 110 percent into whatever she does, whether it be her job or sports or school.”

As a freshman, Carney was ranked third in her class and made a goal to achieve valedictorian status. Though she initially doubted her ability, she claims that “as [she] moved up over the years, it became a really concrete goal of [hers].”

Carney, who finished No. 1 with a 4.822 GPA among a class of 645, also credits her success and passion for education to her family. As the granddaughter, daughter, and sister to multiple teachers, Carney recognizes the importance of education in her family and how its influenced her. In fact, she is majoring in Secondary Mathematics Education at the University of Connecticut with a full scholarship in the fall.

In addition to her success academically, Carney has also excelled in track as she was named captain of the cross country, indoor, and outdoor track teams despite only being able to run indoor and outdoor track for three years as she was injured her freshman year. In addition, she even recently received the CIAC Scholar Athlete Award. Her previous chemistry teacher and track coach, Marsha Turek, has nothing but praise for Carney:

“She has an incredible work ethic and is really good at helping others in a teacher kind of way, not just giving [other students] answers,” says Turek, now teaching in the CTE Department. “As an athlete, I’ve seen her through a lot of ups and downs and I think what builds the most character is how you come off a down and I think that’s just a true testament to who Julie is.”

Carney believes that being a student-athlete “kept [her] accountable” and “gave [her] a set schedule” that forced her to stay on top of her work. In this way, she elaborates, she was never given a chance to procrastinate as she had limited time to get her work done.

“When I came home, I always had to go straight to my school work and it really kept me accountable for what I was doing,” Carney says.

Overall, Carney’s achievements can best be summed up by her family’s’ motto: “You never want to give anything less than your best and we all always try our best at everything; so that’s kind of how I became who I am.”