JA 2023

Westfield High School senior Ciara Johnson-Corwin has been named one of Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts’ 18 Under 18.

Nominated by WHS Principal Charles Jendrysik for the honor, Johnson-Corwin is a member of the National Honor Society as well as the Tri M Music Honor Society. At school, she is active in many after-school activities, including the Key Club, Student Council, the Multicultural Club and the Ski Team. In addition, she founded and nurtured the Future Medical Leaders Club and Letters for Rose.

According to the announcement, Johnson-Corwin is most proud of her involvement in the Best Buddies Unified Track Team, where students with and without intellectual disabilities compete alongside each other, and Letters for Rose, an international organization that aims to reduce loneliness among elders during the coronavirus pandemic by creating and sending out customized letters, art and donations for local nursing homes. The Westfield High School Letters for Rose chapter is the second largest in the world and has sent out over 2,190 letters.

“That says in itself a lot about Ciara’s leadership. She is a true and genuine leader for the right reasons, not for the praise or accolades; simply to help other people, which is really remarkable,” Jendrysik said.

Johnson-Corwin’s passion for volunteering extends into the community where she serves as a Bible Camp counselor for her church and helps with the church choir. She will be attending the University of Rochester in the fall to study the brain and cognitive sciences.

“I’ve always been impressed by the leadership and community service that Ciara demonstrates,” Jendrysik said.

He first started to get to know her when she approached him in the cafeteria in her sophomore year about starting two new clubs, the Future Medical Professional Club and Letters for Rose.

“She is always well spoken, and one of the most genuine students that I’ve had the pleasure to work with. Despite all the accolades, she remains humble through all,” he added.

On May 18, Jendrysik attended Junior Achievement’s banquet at Tower Square to honor all of the 18 under 18 recipients.

“It was a great event. It truly was inspiring to hear all the positive things that were said about Ciara and the other recipients as well from throughout Western Mass. The recipients were truly extraordinary, and to hear all the wonderful things young people were doing was uplifting,” he said.

Jendrysik said all of the 18 Under 18 students created a poster board that reflected their accomplishments, and the guests walked around and talked to students about their successes and their achievements.

“It’s very cool,” he said.

Jendrysik said the honorees received a plaque, a citation from Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, and will be invited to attend leadership and networking workshops sponsored by Junior Achievement.

This is the second year that Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts is honoring a group of 18 students under 18 years old for their innovative spirit, leadership and community involvement.