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Glen Ellen student named valedictorian at Justin-Siena

Justin-Siena High School valedictorian Siena Guerrazzi was raised in Glen Ellen.

Justin-Siena High School valedictorian Siena Guerrazzi was raised in Glen Ellen.

Lorna Sheridan/Index-Tribune Education Editor

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For the past two years, either the valedictorian or salutatorian at Justin-Siena High School in Napa has hailed from Sonoma Valley. Siena Guerrazzi, of Glen Ellen, was recently named as the school’s valedictorian for 2014, and Mary Bridget Pecha of Sonoma was the school’s salutatorian in 2013. Both students attended St. Francis Solano School for elementary and middle school.

Siena Guerrazzi has made the most out of every moment at Justin-Siena. In addition to finishing with one of the highest GPA’s in her class, she competed on the school’s Mock Trial team and recently returned from the state competition. She is involved in student government and competed on Justin’s cross-country running team.

Beyond the school day, Guerrazzi has pursued a passion for creative writing, taking classes with writing teacher Kate Williams in Sonoma since middle school. She now helps teach those classes to Williams’ youngest students.

She also founded a literacy club at Justin with her sister, Gemma, who is a junior, and organized book collections for young readers in need, an annual Quidditch Match and Author Days at Justin.

Williams first met Guerrazzi in elementary school. “Siena is inquisitive and highly teachable; she’s uniquely empathetic, too, with a solid moral center and an active social conscience,” said Williams. “I expect the world at her feet.”

Guerrazzi is already making a name for herself with her fiction. Her entries in the City of Sonoma’s 2014 Student Creative Arts Award garnered her a $500 award of merit for creative writing.

The valedictorian and salutorian at Justin are chosen by a committee from among the 10 students with the highest GPA, as calculated using a formula unique to the school. These students then write a speech about their time at Justin, and that is used in the evaluation process. Guerrazzi will deliver her speech on Thursday, June 5, in front of her 150 classmates and their friends and family.

After a relaxing summer, Guerrazzi is off to UC Berkeley. She is undecided about what she will study but excited about the future. She looks back on her years at Justin fondly, “I have loved the sense of community at Justin … the feeling that every teacher and administrator here is really looking out for me and wants me to succeed … not just academically but outside of school as well.”