Superintendent’s Spotlight: Jenna Alicea


Superintendent’s Spotlight: Jenna Alicea

March 18, 2022

Jenna Alicea set a personal goal for her eighth grade year at Warwick Valley Middle School, she wanted to be more of an extrovert. What better way to challenge herself than to become a Wildcat Ambassador? 

“Jenna is a lovely young lady who has really come out of her shell and into her own this year,” said WVMS Principal Georgianna Diopoulos. “She works hard in school and, this year, has been a Wildcat Ambassador, and has been a great help to us on so many events.“

In fact, Principal Diopoulos said Jenna has been at every single event the Ambassadors have been asked to help with, including last week’s visit from fourth graders who will be coming into the Middle School next year. She also helped with fourth grade parent orientation earlier in the year.

“With parents, it’s their child coming into school, so they’re really nervous,” explained Jenna. “So, you have to tell them about the Middle School and that their student is going to be okay, they’re going to have a really good time at school.”

Having been an incoming fifth grader herself, she said she understands the anxieties younger students might feel about starting Middle School.

“With them, it’s about helping them not be nervous, showing them around and how they’ll get to the right classes,”  she said. “I tell them about everything the middle school has to offer, like clubs.”

“She’s done it all with poise and grace, and done it exceptionally well,” added Principal Diopoulos.

Associate Principal Mr. Christopher Radon said it’s always been evident that Jenna is a helper at heart.

“When I was new to the district, my daughter got COVID and couldn’t go trick or treating,” said Mr. Radon. “ Some of Jenna’s family live near us, so when they went trick or treating, Jenna dropped off an entire pillowcase of candy for my daughter.”

Jenna made Honor Roll in the first marking period this year, and High Honor Roll in the second. She said her top three favorite subjects at the moment are ELA, science, and math. She enjoys reading stories featuring utopian and dystopian worlds, as well as the mystery and fantasy genres.  

“I like reading those kinds of stories, like a perfect society gone wrong,” she said. “In science we’re doing chemistry right now, which is hard, but I like most of the topics. Math can be really hard [at first] too, but once you understand it, it’s really fun.”

Jenna said her appreciation of science might lead to a career in the medical field one day, possibly as a dermatologist or endocrinologist.

As a member of National Junior Honor Society, Jenna has enjoyed the opportunities she’s been given to do community service hours and work on school activities like fundraisers. In the fall, she helped out at the Trunk or Treat event all day.  This week, she and her fellow NJHS students were raising funds for UNICEF, selling Ukrainian flags, pins, sunflowers, and yard signs.

“All of the proceeds are being donated to UNICEF, and UNICEF will be using that money to help children who have been displaced by the conflict in Ukraine,” Principal Diopoulos explained.

The NJHS also held a Double Good Popcorn Sale Fundraiser to benefit St. Jude Children Research Hospital. Jenna suggested St. Jude as their charity because she has been donating to the hospital herself – with her own money – since she learned about it in fifth grade.

“We sold a lot of popcorn,” she beamed. “We raised $2,000!”

This year, Jenna has also been involved with Junior Leadership Orange, a collaboration between the Orange County Youth Bureau and Leadership Orange for local eighth grade students who are identified as up and coming youth leaders during their seventh grade years. The program provides leadership skills, life skills, career exposure, and preparedness to youth who will potentially become the business and community leaders of the future. It challenges youths to develop skills, gain critical awareness, and act as community advocates.

In her scant free time, Jenna loves heading outdoors to get moving.

“I like being active and doing sports,” she said. “Track was my big thing when I was in fourth grade. I play basketball, I snowboard in the winter.”

Last year she started playing lacrosse and it quickly became her favorite. She plays for WVMS and has attended the Mad Dog Lacrosse summer camp in northern New Jersey.

Having accomplished her goal of becoming more outgoing – Principal Diopoulos said she “conquered” it – Jemma said she already has a new personal challenge in mind heading into her freshman year at Warwick Valley High School.

“I’m going to get as many credits done as early as I can, so that I can take some college classes when I’m a senior,” she said.


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