by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Alicia Jeanne Photography

Proud of her Heritage

student_dellapenna1Jillian Della Penna caught the travel bug at a young age. “My parents find value in exposing us to a variety of places,” explained Jillian. “I traveled together with my family to Europe and ever since I have been excited to explore other places. I have met so many incredible people with inspiring stories throughout my travels, and although I am young and still have so much to learn, I am a firm believer in the best education is seeing the world and experiencing other cultures.”

It’s no wonder then, that Jillian is equally as passionate about her Italian ancestry. “I am an Italian who, like so many, is proud of their heritage,” said Jillian, who is a member of The Order Sons of Italy in America, a national organization where Americans of Italian heritage join together to promote their culture, traditions, language, and legacy. “Generations of proud Italians can join together once a month to enjoy dinner together, plan activities, and raise funds for various charities,” explained Jillian.

Most recently, Jillian was named the first recipient of the organization’s Lou Petrella Memorial Scholarship. “The fact that I was reviewed and selected for the Lou Petrella Memorial Scholarship meant so much to me,” said Jillian. “I had the great fortune to have spent time with Mr. Petrella only once but I was touched by his character. I have heard many stories about his golden heart and large acts of kindness and humanity. To me, it truly is an honor to receive a scholarship in his name.”


Meet Jillian

Name: Jillian Grace Della Penna
Community: Carlsbad
Hobbies: Reading, hiking, running, yoga, and traveling
Favorite Places in Carlsbad: The scenic drive on Pacific Coast Highway, the coastline in front of the desalination plant, Vinaka Coffee House, Tamarack and South Ponto Beach, the hiking trail on Mount Calavera

Jillian – a recent graduate from Carlsbad High School – worked as a journalist for the school newspaper, The Lancer Express, and was Editor-in-Chief during her senior year. “It has also been my honor to be given the opportunity to cross-train staff on Lancer Link (online newspaper) and Lancer Express, which allows efficient editorial and distribution of our online and print journalism programs,” added Jillian, who was also a participant on the school’s Speech and Debate team and has been assistant homecoming chair for the Associated Student Body.


During her freshman and sophomore year, Jillian played for her school’s lacrosse team, but unfortunately had to stop after suffering multiple concussions. “As hard as it was to walk away from the sport and team I loved most, I am thankful for the time I shared with them,” said Jillian.  “My junior year, I was able to fill the role of team manager which allowed me to still be on the field with my friends and be included as much with all the team bonding.”

This fall, Jillian is excited to attend Pennsylvania State University as a new student. “I have been accepted into the nursing program to pursue my dream career!” Jillian exclaimed.