Sacred Heart Academy Principal, S. Joanne Forker, CSJ, Ed.D., has announced that Afia Kuragu and Casey Leimbach have been selected as Valedictorian and Salutatorian, respectively. Afia and Casey will represent the senior class with remarks at the Commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 2.
Kuragu, who hopes to become a doctor, will be headed to Yale University in the fall, majoring in Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology. A participant in SHA’s Science Research Program, Afia excelled during a summer research internship at Mt. Sinai and says that participating in the Science Research Program and taking AP bio at Sacred Heart reaffirmed her love of biology and solidified her decision to pursue medicine as a career.
When asked what she will miss most about Sacred Heart, Afia mentioned the tight-knit community where everyone knows one another.
“I’ve made some of the best friends at Sacred Heart.,” Afia said. “The girls, the teachers, the entire community is so supportive, both personally and academically. You probably won’t find that kind of reassurance elsewhere.”
Afia is the Co Vice-President of the National Honor Society at SHA. As a Student-Council representative, she has volunteered her time welcoming future Sacred Heart students, who hope to follow in her footsteps. She is the Captain of the Varsity Extemporaneous team for SHA’s Speech and Debate program. In addition to her love of science, Afia excels in the Arts and is a member of Instrumental Ensemble and plays in the Sacred Heart Pit Band. She is also an Altar Server at her home parish, St. Christopher’s.
Casey will be attending the University of Notre Dame in the fall, majoring in Biological Sciences. She too hopes to pursue a career in the medical field. She chose Notre Dame for its atmosphere. When she visited the campus, she felt a similar atmosphere to Sacred Heart: Supportive, with strong bonds among the students and teachers, as well as with the alumni.
A member of the National Honor Society, Casey participated in the Mt. Sinai summer research internship as a rising junior and, this past summer, was selected to conduct research through the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Partners for the Future. She credits the hands-on opportunities provided through the Science Research Program as being instrumental in her decision to continue studying biology.
Casey is actively involved in all areas of Sacred Heart. She is the captain of the Varsity Softball team at SHA, and is also involved in many of the Arts programs, including having co-choreographed several dance routines for this year’s performance of Cinderella and the Nutcracker. She plays the viola in the Instrumental and Chamber Ensembles. Casey donates her time assisting with Sacred Heart’s SHAdows program, and, outside of SHA, she has volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House and provides pitching clinics for her local Little League.
“I am thankful to have had an opportunity to be a leader at Sacred Heart,” Casey said. “It has taught me more about myself and how to work with others. Being able to have an idea and coordinate with others to see a vision come to fruition gives you a feeling of accomplishment and has given me great confidence.”
The Sacred Heart community congratulates both Afia and Casey and looks forward to hearing their inspirational words as the Class of 2018 graduates.