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“I’ve always loved learning. When I was younger, my parents made sure to make education fun. I did math problems on the back of restaurant placemats, learned new spelling words to impress my grandfather, and read every book I could get my hands on. I took that motivation to learn and succeed with me to high school, where I took the most rigorous classes available, even in subjects I wasn’t fond of.”
Highlights of Young Scholar Experience: The cumulative effect of the many Foundation-supported courses and programs gave Caitlin Blais confidence in her abilities. “The Young Scholars Program challenged me in many ways and shaped me as an individual.” The program opened up opportunities for Caitlin to explore new interests. In particular, she attended nearby Boston University where she took classes in Ecology and Visual Arts.
Profile: Caitlin was raised in a deeply religious household in a Boston suburb. She’s always been a believer, but it wasn’t until her participation in the summer of 2009 at the Youth Theological Institute at Emory University that she was inspired to realize that faith is not just a belief system—it is a way to take action to help others. It was her personal epiphany that has set in motion her plans to study theology in college.
Inspiration: Oh how Caitlin once loathed Spanish class. But oh how that changed thanks to a teacher at Braintree High School, Gail Ward. Caitlin said Spanish became her favorite subject, because Ms. Ward made the class fun. She enjoyed going to class and looked forward to the opportunity to speak Spanish every chance she could get. She hopes to take Spanish in college.
Aspiration: Current plans are for Caitlin to major, or at least minor, in religious studies in college and pursue a career that will allow her to help improve the lives of others.
Making a Difference: Fear is a terrible, humbling experience. For Caitlin it was the fear of heights that would sometimes bring her to tears. But at a summer leadership course which required climbing a 40 foot pole, Caitlin fought through her anxiety, accomplished the task, and now feels better qualified to help others face their fears, no matter what they may be.
Accolades: Caitlin’s a National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist and in her junior year at Braintree High School she was given the Yale Book Award. In addition she was a member of the National Honor Society, the Spanish National Honor Society and received her high school language department’s Spanish Achievement Award. As one of the top violinists in the Boston region, she was also accepted in the area’s regional orchestra.
Interesting fact: In 11th grade, Caitlin wrote a rap song summarizing the life of Jesus, and sang it in front of her English class and at a Youth Theological Initiative.
University of Pennsylvania
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
University of California, Berkeley