Alumni Spotlight: Kayla Ferjuste ’16

Waterside alumni are a central part of our community. The School maintains relationships with all its graduates, working with them through early adulthood to ensure each alum is empowered to become a leader of tomorrow. 

Kayla Ferjuste, Class of 2016, is a recent Greenwich Academy graduate and will be attending Emory University for computer science in the fall. Like many of our alumni, Kayla remembers being warmly welcomed by the Waterside community when she joined her peers in second grade. 

“Waterside challenges their kids while also being so welcoming, so that they are able to foster greatness.”

– Kayla Ferjuste ’16

From a young age, Kayla recognized the value of the diverse community that Waterside cultivated––something she wanted to see more of at her secondary school. This spring, Kayla received Greenwich Academy’s Alexander A. Uhle Award for Academic Achievement and Character for her DEIB efforts throughout her time at GA. 

“I wanted to find more ways to have the Black experience shown at GA,” Kayla said. “Coming from Waterside, celebrating your background was always acknowledged. I wanted to do that at GA to enact more change because I saw the need for it in my school’s community.” 

In seventh grade, Kayla joined Greenwich Academy’s middle school affinity group, Bridges, which was her first foray into diversity work. In Upper School, Kayla joined the Black Student Union, where she served as Vice President and President. She also brought back the Diversity Outreach Project Enrichment Club, D.O.P.E., to GA. 

As she served in leadership roles, Kayla organized a donation drive for the Loveland Foundation, a school-wide scavenger hunt during Black History Month, and D.O.P.E. Fest, a cultural appreciation festival similar to Waterside’s International Festival. Her inspiration for DOPEFest came from her experiences and love for the International Festival hosted at the School.

Kayla presenting her fourth grade science project on acid reactions to metal in 2014.

On top of her diversity work, Kayla brought her love for computer science to elementary school students by working part time for MakeInspires Makerspace, an after school STEAM program. 

This extracurricular has transcended at Waterside as this summer’s STEM specialist for the School’s Summer Program. Kayla has developed lesson plans to promote a love for science at a young age for current Waterside students. 

“It’s been pretty full circle coming back as a specialist at Waterside,” Kayla shared. “I developed my love for STEM at Waterside and I felt like I had a place in science to explore my curiosity. “Being able to teach in the same building where I fell in love with science means so much to me, and having the kids be excited about STEM is awesome. I hope to instill the same love for science and programming that was instilled in me while I was here.” 

As the summer comes to an end, Kayla looks forward to spending time with her family and friends from Waterside and GA before beginning her next chapter at Emory.