Katherine “Kat” Castro-Alvarez seeks life lessons everywhere she goes. Whether acquiring new tastes in food and culture at an unfamiliar restaurant or developing knowledge and skills in the LAPD Cadet Program, Kat is following the words of Mahatma Gandhi to “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” With her grade point average above 4.1, Kat is in the National Honor Society and is currently enrolled in two college courses, Earth Science and Humanities along with AP Calculus, AP English Literature and Economics Honors. When Kat graduates this year, she will have taken five AP classes, five college courses and numerous honors classes here at BCLHS.
In hand with learning is Kat’s enjoyment of problem solving. After hearing a news item about a teenager who was able to help a deaf woman by translating with sign language, Kat enrolled in American Sign Language. She felt compelled to learn it because the news story indicated that there are relatively few hearing people who have this skill. She is ready to help if the problem presents itself.
Kat’s sense of learning has led her to pursue responsibility for her community. She credits the LAPD Cadet Program and BCL’s Student Council as the two activities that instilled this sense of responsibility. As Associated Student Body President Kat is acutely aware that her responsibility is for the entire student body. As the year begins she is encouraged by her student council peers’ desire to create memorable experiences for all students through Big Sister-Little Sister activities, sports rallies and other spirit building events. She enjoys negotiating and is improving her collaboration skills through Spirit Week planning.
It is amazing there are enough hours in the day for her to complete everything she is involved with. In addition to her rigorous academics and leadership responsibilities Kat also competes in Cross Country and Soccer. Kat represents BCLHS as a Student Ambassador, greeting guests and promoting the school at recruitment events. Additionally, she has served on the Campus Ministry team, PAW (Providing Athletics for Women) and Taking the Reins through the school’s Equestrian Club.
The word that Kat uses to describe her experience at Bishop Conaty – Our Lady of Loretto High School is empowerment. She states that the teachers work individually with students to build them up and help them to succeed in their class. It is with this empowerment that Kat will be forwarding applications to USC, UCLA, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, Barnard and Smith Colleges this fall.
As she looks toward her graduation from high school it is with great optimism and hope for the future. Her vision for the future is success in her endeavors and the ability to give back to her family and community who have helped her to become who she is. When asked, Kat credits her faith for her strength and determination. “It is my trust in God that allows me to achieve.”We are very proud of Katherine Castro-Alvarez for exemplifying a Bishop Conaty - Our Lady of Loretto High School graduate as a woman of faith, learning, responsibility and vision.
BLCHS junior, Keirin Toledo plans to become a pediatrician. She recently attended the east coast college field trip with 17 of her peers. She was very impressed with both Boston College and Columbia University. She said that she can imagine herself on either of those campuses. It is a dream well within this young woman’s reach.
When asked what word describes her feelings about BCLHS, Keirin said “gratitude.” Her gratitude extends beyond what she has learned academically to include those things that shape character. The spiritual and social lessons have been very important to her especially knowing that God is always there for her, even when she feels alone. Keirin learned at a very young age about recognizing the kindness of others and being grateful. When she was four years old, her mother was in an automobile accident which left her with debilitating injuries that to this day prevent her from returning home to care for her children. A strong family led by Keirin’s grandmother and aided by aunts and uncles have helped Keirin and her younger sister to thrive through good and bad times. They visit her mother each week at the care facility and she comes home on special holidays. That brings everyone hope and encouragement. Each member of this loving family is lifted by another. It is very fitting that Keirin’s favorite quote is by Dr. Seuss: “To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”
It is the people at BCLHS who make it most special to Keirin. She credits the students and staff for keeping her motivated and for coaching her about self-confidence. She is especially grateful to her friends who she will forever hold in her heart. Keirin is a very quiet young lady who is always thinking. With her grade point average above 4.4, she is in the National Hispanic Honor Society, applying for National Honor Society and is currently enrolled in two college courses, Earth Science and Political Science along with AP Language and Composition, AP US History, Algebra 2 Honors, Chemistry Honors and Theology 12. She enjoys learning more about Catholic social teaching and its impact on the world. All of this further ignites her desire to help others.
The world is a big place and there are many needs that require tending. Keirin is learning that everyone, including her, is unique and special in what they do and say. With her desire and with her great big heart, she can be the world to many people.It is an exciting time for her exploring her college options. She is on track to have her choice of where she will go. Her grandmother would prefer for her to study in California. Her uncle understands her wish to go east. Time will tell, and the family will be there for each other as Keirin continues her journey as a woman of faith, learning, responsibility and vision.