Colleen Hugo, a junior at Jonathan Law School, will wear the crown as Miss Emerald Isle in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

She was chosen by the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee based on her Irish roots, community service and her enthusiasm.

Colleen, 17, remembers seeing Miss Emerald Isle in the annual parades in Milford as she was growing up. She was in awe of the elegant dress and tiara, and didn’t really know that someday she would have a chance to be named Miss Emerald Isle.

Last year she heard about the essay and application needed to try for the title and she took a shot. She didn’t get the title last year, but followed up this year with another essay and grabbed the committee’s attention.

In the essay, she told the committee about her community involvement and her Irish roots, which she really learned about as she was preparing to write her essay.

“Though it was obvious from my pale skin and freckled features that I have an Irish background, I hardly had any information beyond that,” Colleen wrote.

Through her father, she learned that five generations ago, her great-great-great grandparents migrated from Cavan, Ireland to Boston, Mass.

“Their daughter, Rose, married my great-great grandfather, Charles Hugo,” Colleen wrote. “Charles’ mother was an Irish immigrant as well. I also learned that my first name has Irish roots: Colleen translates to ‘girl’ in Gaelic.”

This 2017 Miss Emerald Isle is a young Milford woman with a busy schedule and big aspirations.

She was recently accepted into the National Honor Society, and I was chosen as a facilitator for the annual Rotary Youth Leadership Awards conference. She is secretary of Jonathan Law’s Science Olympiad Club and vice president of the junior class. She is a member of the Interact Club, and was recently named the club’s vice president for next year.

She has logged more than 200 hours of community service, in part through volunteering at Milford Hospital delivering messages to various departments. She also is a member of the Young Women’s Club of Milford.

And she plays viola with the Hamden Symphony Orchestra,.

And she has a part-time job at the Milford Ice Pavilion.

And she is a figure skater. Colleen has been figure skating since about the fourth grade but stopped recently because she suffered a concussion from a fall.

“I have more time now because I’m not figure skating,” she said. “But I miss it, and I’m thinking of going back.”

“I do like staying busy,” Colleen explained.

The college application process hasn’t started yet, but Colleen already has plans to tour Dartmouth, which she said is her college of choice. She said she will probably study science, although music and politics intrigue her also.

Colleen was one of a group of Jonathan Law students who attended the inauguration of President Donald Trump, even though she admits she’s a Democrat. Twitter, Facebook and social media as a whole make it easy to stay on top of daily happenings in the government and Colleen thinks that’s one reason her generation is so keyed into politics, even at a young age.

She said she enjoys discussing politics with friends, even when their opinions clash.

“I like to have the conversations,” she said.

She also enjoys music, and playing in an orchestra give her a chance to be a part of something beyond herself, creating one sound.

“You’re in it,” Colleen said, explaining the feeling she gets when she’s producing one part of the orchestra’s piece.

She is the daughter of Laura Ameika, a teacher in Milford, and Josh Hugo, who lives in Tennessee. She has an older brother Ian Hugo, and three siblings who live in Tennessee — Ethan, Aidan and Claire.

Colleen is looking forward to the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade dinner, where she will be crowned Miss Emerald Isle, and the other events leading up to the parade. She has already chosen the gown she will wear for the events and the parade: Dark blue with sequence of different colors.

The annual parade, which attracts an estimated 20,000 people, will take place in downtown Milford Saturday, March 11, kicking off at 1 p.m. The parade starts at the Parsons Government Center and makes its way to the Broad Street green.

Nell Moll, director of membership, opportunities and enthusiasm for the Milford Chamber of Commerce, has been named this year’s parade grand marshal. She also will be honored at the annual parade dinner, which will be Feb. 26 at Stanziale's Restaurant on Main Street in Stratford from 5 to 8 p.m.

Anyone interested in attending should call Marty Hardiman at 203-878-2865. There is a choice of three meals: A chicken dish, a fish dish and an eggplant parmesan dish, plus a children's meal of chicken fingers. The meal includes coffee, tea, soda and dessert.

The cost is $45 per person; children $20, and funds help support the parade.