“At the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as president, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.” -Michelle Obama
The role of school president is both an exhilarating and difficult position to fill. It requires involvement in nearly every aspect of student life, as well as exceptional academic and extracurricular performance. Fontbonne is fortunate enough to have a president who meets this criteria, Catalina Gaya ‘16. Catalina has been involved in the Student Activities Council (SAC) since her freshman year and takes part in many other activities as well.
Catalina was inspired to run for president after she took on the position of freshman representative during the 2012-2013 school year. She wanted to run for sophomore president the next year. However, some of the seniors knew that she was capable of even more. “...they saw my potential and they pushed me to run for an executive board position.” Catalina took on the roles of both recording secretary and coordinating secretary the next year. She then went on to become vice president and finally school president, which gives her three years of experience on the executive board. Catalina's sister,Tricia Gaya ‘10, was also school president during her senior year. This further inspired Catalina to run for the position.
When asked what her biggest challenge as school president is, Catalina expressed concern about the amount of responsibilities that she has. “For me, the biggest challenge is trusting myself and other people to carry out their responsibilities. I’m not just on SAC- I’m a cheer captain, I’m a secretary for NHS. People think I’m only involved in SAC, but I do much more than that, so I have to delegate. I can’t do everything alone. If I didn’t have the help from others and my own determination, I wouldn’t get things done.” Her fondest memories from her four years on SAC include Leadership Day and election time. She enjoys election time because students can “learn these different characteristics about people that you didn’t know before. You really see them being their true selves.” Catalina also shared how her executive board duties have prepared her for college. “It helped me learn to work with others, plus take initiative as a leader. It’s really pushed me to work hard… and since people expect more from me, [my position] has helped me learn to deal with the expectations that I face.” She also feels that the role of SAC has changed significantly since her freshman year. “This year especially, SAC has begun taking on a new direction. We used to just be the people who organized activities and events. Now we have more of a governing role in the school.” Catalina’s four years of hard work will have a lasting impact on SAC as the organization continues to take on a larger role in student life.
Catalina Gaya '16 (left) with her sister Tricia Gaya '10.
An Interview with Ms. Scherpf
By Tatiana Welka '17 Ms. Patricia Scherpf, Fontbonne’s well-known chemistry teacher, was born and raised in Rockaway Beach. Rockaway Beach is a neighborhood on the Rockaway Peninsula in the borough of Queens in New York City. She attended Manhattan College, ranked by U.S. News & World Reportas one of the top 20 colleges in the Regional Universities North category, in the Bronx. Did Ms. Scherpf always have an interest with working in the science department? At first, she did not. She first began working in a different career and later realized she had a love for science and teaching.“I wound up making a career change to join the science department here. There are more research and science course options available for students in then when I attended Fontbonne.” As a science teacher, her best asset is that she can try to push the students to do their best and to have them know they can always come to her for help. “I am personable,” she states. If someone lacks this trait, it is harder to carry a conversation and receive help from them. Outside of the science world, Ms. Sherpf said she enjoys “going to the beach when the weather is nice. I also enjoy watching movies and am guilty of occasionally binge watching shows on Netflix.” Ms. Scherpf recommends that the best way to study is to NEVER CRAM! Studying daily for a short amount of time and reviewing will help students have a better chance of remembering things. “Always review your notes and material every night if possible. When it comes time to study, you will already know and be familiar with all of the material,” said Ms. Sherpf. Her motivation is the desire she has to help others. Chemistry can be very difficult for some people to understand. If a student is struggling in this subject, she recommends going to her during a resource to get additional help.