By Vivian Nguyen ’21
This edition of The Bamboo’s Immaculate Heart Freshman Spotlight features an individual who might just be one of God’s choir angels from heaven. This week, freshman Catherine Alejo chatted with The Bamboo about her time as a choir singer throughout most of her middle school religious life.
Alejo is a member of the Children’s Choir at Holy Family Glendale. Having attended Holy Family School since very young, Alejo remembers seeking out extracurricular opportunities which sparked her interest at the school. The Children’s Choir was exactly that. In a place where teachers held high standards of the students, and girls and boys were leaders of religious integrity, Alejo explained this gem of a choir as a “small community” and a complete “isolation from [her] life.”
The decision of joining the club in 5th grade would make a significant impact on her life, Alejo recalls. Her most memorable time with the choir was a trip to Rome, Italy, to perform in the Congregate Hall for Choir. The five-day trip provided a “program tour led by a tour guide, where my choir group and I were paired with another choir,” Alejo says. She continues, “We journeyed through Central Italy for five days, and made a trip to Assisi.” Assisi remains one of the most religiously- rich cities essential to the Catholic faith. Assisi is home to the famed Basilica of St. Francis, in the town where Italy’s patron
saint St. Francis lived centuries ago. During her stay, Alejo witnessed and stood near Pope Francis himself amidst press cameras and her own choir members as he walked down the aisle into a press meeting. As Pope Francis’s sweeping white robes whisked just a few inches from the crowd’s hands, Alejo reached out, now retelling the surreal event: “I can’t believe it – I got to touch the Pope!” Her religious experiences in Rome would pave the way for Alejo’s perspectives on a life dedicated for God.
Alejo has attended private Catholic schools all her life – but choosing Immaculate Heart for her four-year journey was just the beginning. Since then, Alejo has sung in the 15-membered Immaculate Heart choir for prayer services and school masses. Alejo has played volleyball for three-and-a-half years now, since her sixth grade year of Middle School. Another monumental event in Alejo’s life was when she was invited to Hawaii, for a cheer competition, during her Holy Family years.
In her free time, Alejo enjoys baking occasionally and proudly representing the SCIO club at Immaculate Heart, which spreads the awareness, love, and energy of Asian pop culture to the surrounding community. When asked, an enamored Alejo ponders upon exactly how the Immaculate Heart has inspired her to live so richly: “This community brings me together with people I don’t know very well. Although it’s been only a semester, I feel that we’re a real family,” she says. Her passions don’t end there – Alejo desires to become a pediatrician or doctor for the simple fact that she enjoys interacting and caring for children.
If Alejo could remind any member of Immaculate Heart of anything, it would be to “Do it for God… It’s my life philosophy.” Thank you, Catherine Alejo, for such a valuable representation you have offered to the Immaculate Heart Panda community!
Truly, this angel embodies one of the devout, yet wildly passionate, young women that Immaculate Heart is so famous for nurturing. The Bamboo concludes this week with a reminder to be impassioned in giving one’s all to God, just as our freshman Catherine Alejo evinces every day.