CFF Springfield High School Scholarship Recipient, Jess Carloni Keeps Her Connections Close

By Samantha Matthews*

Jess Carloni

Jess Carloni is a self-professed, “people person.” Her happiest moments come when she can spend time with others and talk them through any situation on their mind. In her freshman year at West Chester University, which starts this fall, Jess hopes to turn her love of conversation into a career by majoring in Psychology and eventually becoming a therapist.

As one of the 2021 recipients of the Casey Feldman Foundation Springfield High School (SHS) Scholarship,  Jess wants to be able to keep her relationships at the forefront of her priorities and impact those around her just like Casey has done. Jess revealed, “My true goal in life is to make an impact on the people around me. My relationships and friendships, just like Casey, mean so much to me. I always make it a personal goal of mine to really have a deep relationship with the people I care about, and not just an on the surface one.” 

Studying psychology was not always Jess’ plan. After being randomly assigned to an intro to psychology course in her junior year, Jess was disappointed — she was hoping for a study hall. However, she fell in love with the course material and the ability to help people in the future through conversation. “I feel like I’m a good listener and my friends know that they can come to me and talk to me about anything, so I feel like studying to become a therapist would allow me to just help people through their problems,” Jess said.

During all four of her years at SHS, Jess was involved with THON a student-run philanthropy that organizes a dance marathon fundraiser for children and families impacted by childhood cancer. Jess served on the Family Relations Committee where she served as a liaison between the families affected by cancer and the club itself. Often before the annual marathon, the families would share their own personal stories. 

 “These families go through such hard times and it’s such a vulnerable moment for them to be sharing their stories so I wanted to make them feel comfortable and safe. I loved talking to them the entire time, and I met so many great people,” she said.

Jess’s ability to make those around her comfortable is something that she attributes to always trying to have a positive attitude. SHS’s school counselor, Kelly Pedrotty noticed this about Jess and said, “Jess exudes positive energy and people love to be around her. She has a smile that lights up a room. I am so impressed by the way she conducts herself in and outside of school. She is a wonderful combination of grace and humbleness.”

Outside of THON, Jess played varsity tennis from her sophomore year until graduation. She’s been practicing the violin since the fourth grade and enjoyed singing in SHS’s choir. Jess also has a love for dance — specifically jazz and lyrical. While she may be leaving tennis, orchestra and choir in high school, she hopes to continue dancing in college. 

After school hours, Jess serves as the manager of her local Dairy Queen. While she found managing her many commitments challenging, Jess is grateful for the learning experience it gave her. “It was definitely difficult — managing a job, after school activities and AP courses — my job made me more responsible and helped my people skills,” she said.

People are the common thread in Jess’s life that give her motivation. During COVID, she, much like the rest of the world, found it hard to connect with others in a time of worldwide separation. However, she feels that the time she spent during the pandemic helped her realize her true priorities in life. “I really want to take the time to prioritize the people in my life. I started thinking a lot about what really matters in life and it’s not materialistic things or social media,” she said. “I hope to be a little more attentive to life, and my friends and my family because the whole thing can be taken away so quickly. Casey’s story helped me realize that.”

Jess has already started on her goal to prioritize the people in her life by spending more time with her family before she leaves for college in the fall. In twenty years, Jess hopes to be creating, “Positive change within my community. I think that any impact, even the smallest impact, will be important to me.I hope that my actions can have a positive influence on other people’s lives, and most importantly, on myself as well,” she said.

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Read about our previous Casey Feldman Foundation SHS scholarship recipients

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*Samantha Matthews is a sophomore at Fordham University at Lincoln Center, where she majors in Communications and Media Studies. She currently serves as the Features Editor at the Fordham Observer, and one day hopes to go to law school.

 

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