photo & story
by Chris Annino
Born during the fall of communism in Vilnius, Lithuania, Justina Waller immigrated to America when she was very young with her parents John and Jurate Waller. “It was an easy transition coming to America, I already knew English because my dad is American. The biggest difference was school, it’s a lot more formal in Lithuania, The only challenges that I faced were making friends and getting used to American pop culture,” said Justina.
Justina’s family history is rich in success. Her mother Jurate Svedaite Waller is a nationally known Opera singer that teaches voice at Conn College, her great grandfather Jonas Svedas was one of the leaders of the post-war revival of traditional music, her Lithuanian grandmother was a rocket scientist, her American grandmother is the town treasurer for Groton and Justina’s father John Waller is a certified Web Developer, Digital Media Specialist and co-founder of the CT Lyric Opera.
For a person of her age, Justina has conquered a great deal of opportunities here, that she wouldn’t have had in her native country. She has excelled in the local arts, theater and opera scene as an actress and stage manager with Flock Theater, Falcon Drama Society, The Left Turn Players, and the CT Lyric Opera.
Justina is also involved with several international clubs and organizations such as The National Honor Society, The Student Ambassador Program, The International Baccalaureate Program, and she is nationally known for her humanitarian efforts by getting a computer lab for underprivileged students in Fiji.
Justina Waller will be graduating this year from Fitch High School among the top students in her class. She plans to attend the University of Vermont where she will possibly triple major in Theater, French, English Literature with a minor in Photography or Journalism. “I want to do everything! I want to act, direct, and teach. I also want to inspire people. Theater is a dying art and it is my mission to bring it back to life. My inspiration comes from my parents. They are hard working talented individuals. They are where I get my motivation from,” said Justina.