- Name: Jessica Barragan, 17
- School: Stratford High School
Jessica is the 2010-2011 Valedictorian of Stratford High School and has been named the Stratford High School Scholar-Athlete of the year. She has completed a number of college level courses and Advanced Placement classes. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Throughout her school career she has excelled academically, as an athlete and as a volunteer, receiving numerous prestigious accolades and much recognition from her schools, the community, the state and nationally.
Miss Barragan has been swimming competitively since she was 7-years-old and is currently the captain of the Stratford High School’s Swimming Team. As a backstroke swimmer excelling the 100-yard sprint, Jessica has been a State Champion twice, holds four school records and a few pool records. She has been named a Nutmeg Allstate Team, All Academic and All Conference athlete.
Jessica has been a licensed Pool Lifeguard for the Stratford Recreation Department for the last two summers.
Jessica is currently the Vice President of Stratford High’s Student Council. She has been a council member for four years and was the treasurer in her Junior Year.
She participates in the Concert Band, Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble at Stratford High School. In this capacity, she is the 1st Clarinet, Clarinet Section Leader and the Band Council Secretary.
Her other involvement includes being a member of the Link Crew (welcoming and helping incoming freshman at Straftord High School), Head Delegate of the Yale Model United Nations, Junior State of America and Debate Club founder and chapter president, National Honor Society recognition, and member of the SUNOCO Swim Team.
Jessica is very involved with both local Stratford and international volunteer work.
She is the founder of the Stratford Smart Buddies Tutoring Program. During her freshman year, Jessica was inspired by her brother’s (6 years younger than herself) difficulty with reading. Through Sterling House and Stratford High School she began to recruit fellow high school students to become mentors, role models and tutors to students such as her brother.
Today 20 to 25 qualified high school students from both Stratford High School, St Joseph’s and Bunnell High School visit Nichols, Franklin and Second Hill Elementary Schools twice a week to work with 15 to 20 2nd and 3rd grade students who are currently having difficulties with reading.
Jessica is the founder of Stratford High School’s Volunteer Club and is ranked as the state and country’s number one Youth Health Service Corps Volunteer with over 900 completed volunteer hours. She has received the President’s Gold Volunteer Service Award for completing 250+ volunteer hours in a year, three times.
In 2010 Jessica traveled to Ecuador where she volunteered at the “Asilo de Ancianos” Nursing Home in Alausi, where she worked with the residents, prepared meals and provided basic companionship. This act of kindness was inspired by her mother who used to volunteer at the same facility when she was a youth living in Ecuador.
As Co-President of the Health Occupations Students of America Jessica is responsible for media and public relations, as well as duties as the State Executive Historian. She also organized the “Don’t Let Your Life Go Up in Smoke” Park Clean-Up in Stratford. The national organization, H.O.S.A. currently has approximately 350 Connecticut members.
Jessica has been recognized as a QuestBridge College Prep Scholar and a National College Match Scholar. In this role she helps to link students from lower-income families to some of the best colleges in the United States. Without such efforts, these students would be underrepresented and disadvantaged in the college application processes of these schools.
As a QuestBridge Scholar, she was invited to attend a conference at Yale University during the summer of 2010. There she learned more about the college admissions process to better equip her to help students overcome financial and other obstacles, thereby achieving equal opportunities at prestigious colleges.
In 2010, Jessica was named the Barnum Organization’s Festival Queen. This title is awarded to a Connecticut Junior who is a role model and leader, a high achieving and well-rounded student and an exemplary member of the community. In this capacity, she was awarded a $4,000 scholarship and a paid summer internship for the next four years and People’s United Bank. Jessica was proud to be chosen as it had been 40 years since a Stratford High School student was elected in this capacity.
Jessica is Ivy League bound, but is currently waiting for the last of her college acceptance letters to arrive. She has been offered scholarships and hopes to pursue a career in her interests of education, law, psychology and international relations.
- Key to Awesomeness:
Jessica is dedicated to her sport, practicing early morning, five days a week. She volunteers and founds volunteer groups around interests that she is not only passionate about, but also realizes that there is a community need for.
But Jessica’s primary inspiration is her mother. Arriving in the United States from Ecuador, she became pregnant with Jessica when she was in her early 20s. Jessica’s father did not support her mother and he continued with her pregnancy despite knowing that life would be very difficult as a young single mother in a foreign country. Despite the difficulties, Jessica’s mom has supported herself, her mother and Jessica, often working four jobs at a time. She is an exemplary model of hard-work and a pillar of support for the family. Jessica feels that given all her mother has done for her and been able to provide her with, it is her “duty and goal as her daughter, to make her as proud as possible … and to prove how appreciative [Jessica is] of all that [her] mother has done” for her. She says that her “mother gave [her] the best and she deserves the best from [Jessica], as a daughter, as a student, as an athlete and as a citizen of this country.” Jessica describes her mother as her “hero, [her] inspiration and [her] best friend.”