Moving On

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Graduating seniors talk about their education and their lives
From the Spring 2009 Caller

 Rifvka Shenoy '09Rivfka Shenoy
A dedicated scientist, Rivfka is headed towards a career in medicine

SCIENCE RULES
Science is my passion. I have an analytic mind and like precise, hands-on work. I did independent research here, and I like mundane research tasks.

MENTORS
I volunteered at St. Vincent Hospital and OHSU. I saw surgeries (even scrubbing in and helping) and went on rounds when I shadowed an OHSU general surgeon. My senior project was shadowing an OHSU cardiologist and working on cardiology research.

WHAT A RACKET
I’ve played tennis in competitions the last six years, and made it to state the last three. I played doubles this year, which is fun and more team-oriented.

LOVING CATLIN GABEL
I love the freedom teachers give you in the classroom, and the way that students lead classroom discussions. I appreciate the willingness of teachers to be involved in your life. The school knows how to nurture you but when to let you lead.

FRIENDS
Most of my friends are Catlin Gabel students. I like creating a social community. That’s my weekend!

ARTS ARE IMPORTANT
I’ve been doing Indian classical dance since I was small. I’ve acted a lot, but my schoolwork took precedence. Recently at school I played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, my first role in a long time. In high school I did mock trial instead of acting and played a lot of witness roles. None of my close friends were involved, and I met a lot of new kids.

COLLEGE PLANS
I plan to go into pre-med, most probably at Washington University or Rice. I hope to attend medical school at OHSU. I maybe want to do neurosurgery. But it’s always open to change.

WHY MEDICINE?
It combines my analytical skills and my people skills. It’s weird, but when I enter a hospital I get a sense of adrenaline, and my blood starts pumping when I see doctors.

 

 

 Sana Pierce-Wright '09Sana Pierce-Wright
A hard-working student, Sana loves Catlin Gabel’s opportunities to make friends and give back to her community

HELPING OUT
I make a real effort to volunteer as much as possible. I am part of the school group CommuniCare, which distributes funds to nonprofit groups. Lately I showed people how to recycle at the Better Living Show, and served dinner at the Portland Rescue Mission. It made me see that I shouldn’t underestimate what I’ve been given.

FAVORITE SUBJECTS
I’m most passionate about math and science, and I loved the environmental science class. I also did the Oregon Urban Leadership Program in the summer of 2008; I have lived in Portland my whole life but I had never seen it behind the scenes.

WHO AM I?
I’m responsible, but I like to have fun. I’m a loyal and trustworthy friend, and a dedicated and hard worker.

FURTHER PURSUITS
Model UN and Peer Helpers made me more well-rounded and gave me a chance to experience new things. Model UN is pretty academic for an extracurricular experience, because you have to do a lot of research. At Peer Helpers we talked about things affecting us, learned how to help our peers constructively, and role played for situations that come up in life. I interacted with people there I might never have talked to before.

COLLEGE PLANS
I’m going to Vassar College.

THANKS, CATLIN GABEL
At Catlin Gabel we learn habits and skills to attack whatever we face. I’ve learned time management, and taking responsibility for my actions. I’ve developed a sense of independence that has grown over the years.

FEELINGS ON GRADUATION
I feel like I just got here, but I’m excited to go off to college. I see all the options I could have had, but I’m happy with the path I chose.

 jack Lazar '09Jack Lazar
An exceptionally reflective young man, Jack has matured through Catlin Gabel’s outdoor program

OUTDOORS AS CLASSROOM
The outdoor program opened a whole world for me, allowing me to dig deeper inside myself in a setting that’s not judgmental and is accepting and encouraging. The combination of group dynamics and the outdoors inspires me and stimulates me. It’s not just a hobby but is the fuel of my development.

BECOMING A LEADER
The outdoor program allowed me to develop my leadership skills. I never really thought I’d be where I am now. In my freshman and sophomore years, no one did: I had abilities but didn’t apply myself. Now I challenge myself and try to make my work as personal as possible.

INFLUENCES
Photography opened my eyes to how visuals can speak of hidden meanings. Literature opened me to a world of creative writing and interpretation. Philosophy with Michael Heath opened me to a world of thought.

LEARNING THROUGH HARD TIMES
My mom was extremely ill when I was in 6th grade and became paraplegic. It’s been one of the most influential, sensitive, and defining times of my life. I had to realize that my parents weren’t perfect or immortal at a much younger age than most people do. I also have ADHD, a primary cause of my social isolation. These problems caused a painful awareness that made me stronger and allowed me to develop in a different way.

COLLEGE PLANS—AND FUTURE THOUGHTS
I have enrolled at Whitman, but I plan on taking a year off. There are so many possibilities. I will probably do some humanitarian work, traveling, mountaineering, maybe even medical training or a gap year program. I want to help others develop their passions. Catlin Gabel has taught me more than just biology or pre-calculus or literature. It’s taught me to be proud of what I’m passionate about, how to think wholly but critically, how to be flexible, and how to determine my future. Success comes from your resourcefulness, not your resources.

 

 

Christopher Dietrich
Christopher, a lifer, has had particular challenges at Catlin Gabel because he lives with Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD

 Christopher Dietrich '09DIVERSE INTERESTS
I’m interested in technology and like to work on my own. I like fixing stuff and helping people through community service. I like looking into life’s mysteries and am studying religion right now.

SUPPORT AND DETERMINATION
I wanted to graduate this year, and I proved that I could graduate on time. I did work during my free periods and after school with my tutors. My 2nd and 3rd grade teacher, Ingrid Gordon, was really important to me: she realized that I needed glasses. My teachers have mostly been able to change to fit my learning accommodations. Ideally, my teachers would understand that there’s a different way to learn.

WHO AM I?
I have come to learn myself, and Catlin Gabel has helped me understand how to process information. I’ve changed the ways I learn. I don’t focus on how I do the work, I just do the work.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT CATLIN GABEL
I liked the amount of academics. My twisted sense of humor helped me get through it. I loved the experiential pieces, which make learning a whole lot easier for different people.

COLLEGE PLANS
I’ll major in IT at Cal State Monterey Bay, because it values community service and experiential learning. I will live off campus for a year at College Living Experience, which is for kids with disabilities to help them learn life skills and get accustomed to college life.

COMMUNITY LIFE
It’s been a fun experience to be a part of the Catlin Gabel community. It’s been stressful at times, but I’ve gotten through it. Lots of students and teachers have been mentors and friends. I feel surprisingly comfortable here.

 

Hayley Ney
A celebrated athlete, Hayley has learned crucial life lessons through teamwork

WHO AM I?
I don’t need to be doing what the crowd’s doing. I am outgoing, dedicated, and driven.

 Hayley Ney '09ACCOMPLISHED ATHLETE
I run cross country and track, and I’ve played varsity basketball. In track in 9th grade I won the 1,500 and 3,000 meter races at state. I was the only Oregon girl to qualify all four years for the Border Clash, a competition for the top 40 runners from Washington and Oregon.

WHAT I LEARNED FROM CATLIN GABEL
I’m a lifer. Although I considered transferring, I am happy with my decision to stay. Catlin Gabel taught me a lot that I could not have gotten anywhere else. The school emphasizes working on your own, at the same time that we learn to work in groups. Personally, it’s taught me independence from my family.

WHY IS SHE SUCH A GOOD ATHLETE?
My dad was a runner and played basketball for Hillsboro. I grew up running competitively since age 8. I’ve been playing basketball since age 10. I’m just so accustomed to it.

TEAMWORK
Leaders of a team have to figure out how to bond the team, so that all genders and grades come together. Lots of times there’s just one piece of the puzzle that doesn’t seem to fit, so we all have to learn how to adjust to everyone else—we learn to work with other people to succeed.

NUMBERS
I’ve enjoyed math the most and served as a TA in an algebra class. I might go on to pursue mathematics—but I have so many decisions to make!

COLLEGE PLANS
I’m going to Santa Clara University. I looked for a college that’s a middle ground between big and tiny. I don’t want to lose the community feeling or be swept away in the crowd and forgotten.

 Cole Perkinson '09Cole Perkinson
Cole crackles with intellectual energy and insatiable curiosity. He thrives on academic challenges

FAVORITE CLASSES
Math and science. My number theory class, where we had lots of say in how fast we went.

MUSIC
I compose music and play in an African marimba band, as well as playing piano and Irish fiddle. I play when I’m stressed, and it helps me relax and focus.

I, ROBOT
Robotics is very creative. It’s fun to stay in the laboratory late and work hard for a good cause.

CLUBS IN THE AIR
I’ve been juggling since I was 5 or 6 and can juggle five balls, fire clubs, and flaming torches. I juggled basketballs onstage in Japan and during halftime at the Portland roller derby.

THE BIG OUTDOORS
I like to escape the havoc and chaos of the world, and cars and computers, and go hiking. Last year I climbed Mt. Hood with the outdoor program. It was surreal to wake up at 1 a.m. and hike into pitch blackness.

WHO AM I?
I try to balance all my interests and give time to all of them. I like arguing a lot when I get passionate, and I’ll stand up for other people. I’m a quiet person and listen to people a lot. I have close relationships with my teachers. Confronting authority is not a problem.

COLLEGE PLANS
I’ll be going to Reed College. I might major in a hard science and minor in environmental science—or music, or theater.

HOW HAVE I CHANGED?
I’ve loosened up from my former perfectionism and like my free time to pursue my interests. I’m experimenting with new working styles, learning to write straight through without revising. I’m more sensitive now to working with other people towards a goal without trying to take control. I’m more open to trying new things. I’m more comfortable with myself.