NEWINGTON - â€śKindâ€ť and â€śhumbleâ€ť are two words that can be used to describe the Class of 2018 salutatorian at Newington High School.
When Jessica Buslewicz graduates this week, she will have everyoneâ€™s best wishes in mind.
â€śIf Iâ€™ve learned anything here, itâ€™s how to be a good person,â€ť Buslewicz said, recounting special moments during her four years
â€śWhen I started high school, I didnâ€™t know what direction I wanted to go in,â€ť she explained. â€śI am who I am today because of my teachers. Iâ€™ve learned to be true to myself. If you donâ€™t know who you are they give you the tools to find out and thrive in that.â€ť
When 17 people were murdered at a high school in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, Buslewicz joined a group of NHS students to organize a memorial service for the victims. This past spring, they rallied against violence and advocated for peace with support from their school.
â€śThere are a lot of reasons not to be who you want to be, but when you get support from teachers and administrators it helps you stay true to yourself,â€ť she said. â€śIt felt good to be a part of something with a national impact and stand up for what I believe in with my school community. Iâ€™m really glad I had that experience.â€ť
Buslewicz is heading to Smith College in Northampton, Mass., this fall to study history and psychology, with a possible minor in political science. Sheâ€™s hoping to get involved in a memoir project one of the professors is starting, focusing on the Holocaust and genocide in Lithuania.
Her choice to attend a womenâ€™s college was a deliberate one.
â€śOnly 2 percent of women attend womenâ€™s colleges but 20 percent of women in Congress have,â€ť Buslewicz explained. â€śI want to go into politics, if I can manage.â€ť
Activism - especially issues affecting her generation, such as gun control and human rights - is close to her heart.
â€śI just want everyone to have a good life and be happy,â€ť she added.
One of her biggest inspirations is her younger sister, Jordan, a junior at NHS.
â€śSheâ€™s smart and witty and everything I want to be,â€ť Buslewicz said. â€śIâ€™m always trying to impress her and at the same time compete with her.â€ť
As one of the leaders of Girl Talks, a group of Newington middle- and high-school students that meets weekly at the Lucy Robbins Welles Library to talk about life, Buslewicz is a mentor. She was among 50 girls and women from across Central Connecticut honored at YWCA New Britainâ€™s 17th biennial Women in Leadership Luncheon in May.
She also founded the NHS Debate Club, presided over the French Club and organized activities for Model U.N.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.