Miss Emerald Isle and parade grand marshal honored

Miss Emerald Isle Colleen Hugo received her crown, and St. Patrick’s Day parade grand marshal Nell Moll was presented with her sash during pre-St. Patrick’s Day parade events Sunday at Stanziale’s Restaurant in Stratford.

Two former Miss Emerald Isles, Kelly Scianna and Gina Raucci, placed the crown on Colleen’s head and her sash around her shoulders at a parade dinner Sunday. Colleen, a junior at Jonathan Law High School, was chosen by the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee as this year’s Miss Emerald Isle based on her Irish roots, her community service and her enthusiasm.

Colleen, 17, applied for the title last year. She didn’t get the title in 2016, but she followed up this year and grabbed the committee’s attention.

Five generations ago, her great-great-great-grandparents migrated from Cavan, Ireland, to Boston, Mass.

Colleen is a member of the National Honor Society. 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. She also is a member of the Young Women’s Club of Milford, and she plays viola with the Hamden Symphony Orchestra and works at the Milford Ice Pavilion.

Moll was chosen as grand marshal because of her impact on the city. She hit the Milford spotlight in 1990, when she was an integral part of the downtown business landscape as the co-owner of Issie’s Big News, a newspaper and magazine shop that also sold coffee and tobacco on River Street.

During Sunday’s ceremony, parade chairman Marty Hardiman recalled that Issie’s was like Milford’s town hall, where people would stop to talk about local politics and people.

The store closed in 1995 and Moll’s business and people connections helped her land a job at the Milford Chamber of Commerce as director of membership, opportunities and enthusiasm.

Colleen and Moll will help lead the annual Milford St. Patrick’s Day parade, which attracts an estimated 20,000 people. It is scheduled for 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.