Justice Grad Earns Scholarship Honoring Late Laura Ashley Piper

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA — Each year, the Fairfax County School Board awards a scholarship to an exceptional student leader to honor the late Laura Ashley Piper, a former student representative to the School Board who served in the Air Force and was killed in action over Iraq in 1994.

This year, the Laura Ashley Piper Scholarship winner is Sofia Ielmini, a recent Justice High School graduate. Ricardy Anderson, who represents the Mason District where Justice High School is located, presented the resolution to honor Ielmini.

According to Anderson’s resolution, Ielmini has shown excellence in academics, community service and athletics while serving in student leadership positions. She earned a 4.498 grade point average and 1310 SAT score, is part of the National Honor Society and other honor societies, and worked toward an International Baccalaureate diploma.

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Ielmini is also credited with promoting environmental sustainability and reducing waste, participating in to beautify trails, paint structures, add vegetation to landscapes and remove invasive plants. She has also been involved with Best Buddies serving people with disabilities and Leo Club, has promoted acceptance and understanding of different kinds of students, and excelled in track and field, field hockey and lacrosse, according to Anderson.

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On top of that, Anderson noted Ielmini had perfect attendance in high school.

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“She is an exceptional young lady who beautifully and enthusiastically embodies the spirit of the Laura Ashley Piper recognition,” said Anderson.

At-large representative Abrar Omeish said she was proud to support the motion to honor Ielmini, as she too was a Fairfax County Public Schools IB diploma recipient and daughter of a Justice High School graduate. Omeish said Ielmini demonstrated a commitment to service, environmental issues and inclusivity through action.

“I hope that those are three things you take with you and continue into college and beyond,” said Omeish. “Because our world is in such desperate need of them, and I know that you’ll lead us forward in a great way.”

At the School Board meeting, Ielmini shared a message of gratitude to all who have helped her along the way.

“Thank you to everyone who has gotten me here: the School Board, my teachers, friends, coaches, parents, and everyone else who has because I could not have done it without anyone,” said Ielmini. “I’m excited for the future and I couldn’t have done it without you guys.”

Piper was a Robinson Secondary School graduate who was a student representative to the School Board from 1986 to 1987. After high school, she attended the Air Force Academy and became a second lieutenant in the Air Force. She was killed in action over northern Iraq at age 25 in April 1994. The School Board created the $1,000 scholarship to honor her high standards of student involvement and achievement. Each year, high schools nominate a senior that demonstrates ‘attributes of personal excellence and commitment to student government.”

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