WALLINGFORD — When Jessica Morrill found out she was Lyman Hall High School’s Class of 2022 valedictorian, it was unexpected, but a title she has wanted since she was young.
“It was definitely a surprise, but I was definitely very happy because it was something I definitely wanted since I was a kid when I learned what a valedictorian was,” Morrill said. “But I didn’t actually expect that I would get it.”
While at Lyman Hall, Morrill, 18, daughter of Debbie and Kevin Morrill, was involved in the French Club, Key Club — a community service organization — and was on the volleyball team as a freshman.
She also had an average grade of A+ in 13 advanced placement classes, said Principal Joe Corso.
“You’re really taken aback,” Corso said. “It really is impressive her overall record.”
Morrill said she has really enjoyed her time at Lyman Hall, especially the years students were able to attend in person. Even when classes were held remotely because of the pandemic, Morrill enjoyed her teachers and being able to stay connected with the school community.
“It seemed like the teachers really did care about their students even though they didn’t have physical classes,” she said. “So just having teachers that cared to put in the effort even at home definitely helped.”
Corso said Morrill continued to do well academically throughout the entirety of the pandemic.
“(The Class of 2022) just took everything in stride, they made the best of it and I think Jessica epitomizes that because she managed these grades in such an extremely unique educational environment,” Corso said. “I think it makes it even that much more impressive.”
Morrill said one class that stands out was her sophomore chemistry class, taught by Eric Stratman. She was also in Stratman’s advance placement chemistry class the next year.
“She was always very driven and she’s a very smart girl,” Stratman said.
After graduation, Morrill will attend the University of Connecticut and major in neurobiology and physiology. She said one of the reasons she chose UConn is because of its Presidential Scholars Award, which is given to valedictorians and salutatorians.
Morrill’s goal is to one day work in neuroscience.
“I sort of landed on neurobiology because I found it really interesting and I liked taking science classes and psych classes,” Morrill said.
The thing she will miss most about Lyman Hall is the community.
“I will definitely miss the people here that made my time so special,” Morrill said.