Mercy High School Announces the Co-Valedictorians and Salutatorian for the Class of 2020

May 24 2020



Mercy High School Announces the
     Co-Valedictorians and Salutatorian for the Class of 2020

By virtual video before the annual May Crowning, Sr. Mary A. McCarthy, RSM, President of Mercy High School in Middletown, CT proudly announced Gabrielle Grant and Holly Lewis as Co-Valedictorians and Emma Kief as Salutatorian of the Class of 2020. 


Gabrielle Grant, a resident of Rocky Hill, is the daughter of John and Gloria Grant.  

Gabrielle has assembled an impeccable academic record during her time at Mercy High School.  She has displayed a flawless level of accomplishment while challenging herself in the most rigorous course load available to her at Mercy, including the AP Capstone Diploma Program.  As a result of her academic achievements, Gabrielle has been the recipient of numerous class awards in the areas of Spanish, English, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Music.  She was named a 2019-2020 National Merit Commended Scholar, awarded the Yale Book Award, and has been inducted into the National Honor Society, Math National Honor Society, and is the President of the Spanish National Honor Society. 

Gabrielle is just as committed to her extracurricular activities and volunteer service outside of the classroom.  At Mercy, Gabrielle is a Peer Minister, a Mercy Ambassador Officer, and was selected to represent Mercy at the HOBY Youth Leadership Seminar her sophomore year.  Gabrielle is an accomplished harpist that has played with the Springfield Youth Orchestra and the Central Connecticut State University Orchestra. Gabrielle also rehearsed with the Boston Youth Symphony. She was one of six finalists chosen for a prestigious international harp competition as part of the Young Artist’s Harp Seminar in 2018.  Gabrielle has trained in Irish Step Dance, Tap, and Ballet from a very young age.  As an elite Irish Step Dancer, Gabrielle is a member Griffith Academy Celtic Dance Company and has completed nationally and internationally.  She has been a two-time medalist at the North American Irish Dance Championships and is a student teacher at the academy. In addition, Gabrielle has dedicated 200 hours of community service playing her harp for individuals in hospice and at Saint James Church, as well as volunteering at Mercy High School events. 

In the fall, Gabrielle will attend Harvard University and plans to major in English and Music.


Holly Lewis, of Middletown, is the daughter of French and Suzanne Lewis.  

Holly’s academic record is extraordinary.  She has been enrolled in the most challenging courses offered at Mercy High School in every discipline.  In an effort to expand her knowledge and intellectual curiosity, Holly has taken courses at Harvard University, Wesleyan University, and online courses throughout her high school career.  She has received numerous accolades as a result of her academic success such as the Harvard Book Prize, the Society of Women Engineers Certificate of Merit, National Center for Women in Information Technology Aspirations in Computing Award, and most recently was named a National Merit-Scholar. In addition, Holly participated in an independent research project through MIT Junction.  She had the opportunity to work with a professional researcher and her work was published in the Junction Journal and she presented her findings at MIT.

Outside of the classroom, Holly is an active member of the Mercy High School community as well as her local community.  She is a student leader, a Captain of the award-winning Tech Tigers Robotics team, vice-president of tutoring for the McAuley Chapter of the National Honor Society and is a Mercy Ambassador.  Holly is a member of the Mercy Math Team and has participated in Poetry Out Loud competitions every year and has been a finalist or winner of the school-wide competition several times. In her spare time, Holly enjoys figure skating at her local skating club and has played volleyball both for Mercy and club teams. She has dedicated over 200 hours of her time to community service projects and was recently awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award as a HOBY Ambassador.  

Holly has a true passion for STEM and is eager to share that with other young women.  She is an ambassador for Girl Up, a philanthropic organization associated with the TechTigers and this past summer she was a Summer School Teacher with New England FIRST.  As a teacher, she worked with underprivileged third and fourth graders in New Britain, CT.  FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics awards one scholarship for outstanding academic achievement and valuable experiences in FIRST. Holly’s work towards female empowerment in STEM and technical experience in SolidWorks (computer program) lead to her to being awarded the 2020 FIRST full tuition scholarship for her entire undergraduate degree.  

In the fall, Holly will attend Northeastern University Honors College majoring in Mechanical Engineering. 

Emma Sage Kief, of Plantsville, is the daughter of James and Shannon Kief.  

Emma has made an indelible mark during her time at Mercy.  She is a member of the first cohort of the AP Capstone Diploma Program and has distinguished herself academically. As a result of her hard work Emma has been awarded numerous academic accolades such as the Brown University Book Award and The Rensselaer Medal. She is an AP Scholar and  a 2019-2020 National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Scholar. As a result of her academic success, she has been inducted into the National Honor Society, Latin National Honors Society, and Mu Alpha Theta (Math) National Honor Society.  Emma was elected President of the Mu Alpha Theta National Honor Society and was responsible for running the math club and overseeing the peer-tutoring program. As a member of the Mercy Math Club, Emma volunteered as a tutor every week with the Cross Road after school program at Zion Church in Middletown.

Outside of the classroom, Emma has proven herself a student leader, athlete, and volunteer.   As a sophomore, Emma was selected to represent Mercy High School at the Hugh O’Brien Youth leadership seminar.  Emma has volunteered at Yale New Haven Hospital and was the Vice President of Mercy’s Medical Minds club her junior year and a member to its executive board senior year.  Emma is passionate about spreading the interest of STEM among elementary and middle school aged children and her peers.  Emma has been a member of the FullMetal Falcons Robotics Team for three years, was elected Captain her junior year, and has held this position for two years, as well as drive team coach and Lead Engineer.  She has dedicated numerous hours of service as a FIRST Lego League mentor and founded the Junior FLL Summer Camp.  As part of this camp, Emma helped guide the team in learning how to program and build their own robot while completing an educational research project that was presented to judges and assisted in competitions.  In addition, Emma has volunteered with the New Britain Summer Experience where she taught the Junior FIRST Lego League to underprivileged kindergarteners.  Emma has found these experiences to be rewarding and have given her the opportunity to give back to her community.

In the fall, Emma will be attending Boston University and will major in Human Physiology.