Friday, June 21, 2024

Two 2024 WHS graduates earn Mainely Character Scholarships

Sophia Gugliuzza and Chloe Harmon, 2024 Windham High School graduates, have been awarded Mainely Character Scholarship for $5,000.

2024 Windham High School graduates Chloe Harmon, left,
and Sophia Gugliuzza have each been awarded $5,000
Mainely Character Scholarships. The scholarships are
presented annually to Maine high school seniors who
demonstrate exemplary concern for others, responsibility,
integrity and courage. SUBMITTED PHOTOS
Mainely Character Scholarships are presented annually to Maine high school seniors who demonstrate exemplary concern for others, responsibility, integrity, and courage. Gugliuzza and Harmond were selected for this honor from nearly 380 scholarship applicants statewide. Gugliuzza’s scholarship is sponsored by Market Decisions in Portland while Harmon’s scholarship is sponsored by Richard and Anne Cass.

Gugliuzza says that she was inspired to spread inclusivity by her grandmother, a special education teacher. Recognizing the social divide in the separation of classes between students with and without disabilities, Gugliuzza took it upon herself “to bridge the gap.” She founded a Unified Sports Club at Windham High School and has fought tirelessly to expand its activities.

Unified Basketball pairs students with intellectual disabilities (Unified Student Athletes) with student partners (Unified Student Partners) without intellectual disabilities. Students make connections and work together. Coed training opportunities are a quick path to friendship and understanding.

Her commitment to champion equality and inclusion is demonstrated in her many different activities. She has volunteered at Camp Jabberwocky on Cape Cod for the last four summers. Jabberwocky is the oldest sleep away camp in the U.S. for students with disabilities. She showed her compassion when one of her campers had a psychotic episode, stepping in immediately, sitting with him and engaging him in comforting conversations.

As an active member of Windham High Schools Civil Rights club, Gugliuzza designed a mural honoring school shooting victims.

She also led a Spread the Word to End the Word campaign to end use of the R-word at her school. It was strategically scheduled to end on the same day as Unified Basketball Senior Night. Before the game, she helped to set up a station at lunch where students could pledge to never use the R-word.

“The buzz around the event grew and resulted in the largest turnout for any Unified game in our school’s history,” Gugliuzza said.

The atmosphere was electric as students filled the stands, armed with posters they made to support their friends on the team. The joy and camaraderie that filled the gym that day, coupled with the overwhelming support from the entire school community, created an unforgettable experience.

For Gugliuzza, it became for her the number one moment of high school and as she puts it, “a testament to the transformative power of unity, inclusion, and the positive impact we can make together when we stand together.”

In the fall, Sophia will attend the University of Michigan, where she will continue to study social justice issues. She plans to become a civil rights attorney.

Harmon says that she decided to become a law enforcement officer after her beloved stepfather died by suicide in 2015. A lieutenant from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department provided empathy and support during her family’s grief and inspired by his kindness, she’s dedicated herself to helping others.

Having completed high school, now in her stepfather’s memory, she’s preparing for a career of helping others.

According to Harmon, she is driven by this advice given to her by the Lieutenant: “You can’t save them all, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.”

Those who know her say that Chloe has a true passion for community outreach and is a leader in classes, always speaking up if participation is scant, and always ensuring that lonely students get warm attention. She is the student that the teacher wants to leave in charge. She is also a feminist who wants to break barriers because she believes law enforcement needs women.

Harmon will attend Thomas College this fall.

The Mainely Character Scholarship Board of Directors recognized both Harmon and Gugliuzza as students upholding its tenets of character including concern, responsibility, integrity, and courage deserving of scholarships.

Mainely Character has been awarding scholarships to students of character since 2001. This year 12 different scholarships are being awarded to students in Maine entering a higher education institution in the fall. For more details, visit <

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