Bobcat of the Month: Caitlin Nguyen
How one Battlefield student’s service is shaping the community
Like many Haymarket teenagers, Caitlin Nguyen is a driven, committed student at Battlefield High School. What separates her from the other 3,000 students, though, is her passion for volunteering and helping others. As the vice president of Key Club, many people look up to her for her kindness and compassion towards others, and how she is able to balance everything she does. In addition to having a major role in Key Club, she is part of Big Brothers and Sisters, National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, and the National Spanish Honor Society, where she is the secretary.
Caitlin is always ready to help others. She focuses most of her time on volunteering, and it shows, as she talks about it eagerly and with so much emotion. “What’s so important about volunteering is that it builds character, not only leadership. You don’t have to hold a title to be a leader, you are a leader in your own way.” Caitlin motivates others to get involved and loves when people join Key Club and other services for volunteering. She adds that all of the members coming together is one of her favorite things about helping out in the community, as “we’re all working together to make a positive impact with this amazing organization.”
Pam Barrett, who is the secretary and sophomore representative of Key Club, is one of the many students who look up to Caitlin and love her passion for community service. “Caitlin is such a wonderful person,” Barrett states. “She has such a kind heart and she implements leadership in everything she does.”
This year Caitlin was project lead for a very important service, Wreaths across America. Since she was the lead, she wanted to make it more engaging for the community, and to raise awareness and funds. To do that, Caitlin put her own little spin on it. She and her sister took 12 hours to bake hundreds of cookies and decorated them to look like wreaths, and handed them out to passers-by to encourage them to to donate a wreath to a fallen soldier. She then came back on wreath laying day with more cookies and gave them out to the volunteers. Caitlin puts all of her energy to make the most out of the projects and services.
Caitlin has a real passion for volunteering, and she has been doing it since she was 10. Since she started at a young age, she wants to encourage other kids to do the same. Every Monday, Caitlin visits her old school, Tyler Elementary. When she gets there, she helps run an after school STEM program that they offer for kids from kindergarten up to fifth grade. Caitlin is the lead mentor for the robotics aspect of the program, and she loves to see the kids start STEM young. Going to Tyler Elementary School really makes her happy, as both she and the kids are doing something they love.
Mrs. Bereczki, who advises Key Club, talks about how great Caitlin is with her work: “She bleeds volunteerism.” She adds, “she is one of the most humble humans I have ever met.” Caitlin is always volunteering, and so far she has 92 hours of community service, and those are just the hours that have been documented. As Mrs. Bereczki puts it, “she goes above and beyond, and even beyond that.”
As she continues into her senior year and into college, Caitlin hopes to continue to volunteer and inspire people to do what they truly love. Regardless of where she ends up, Caitlin will be a great asset to whatever community she joins.
About the Author: Julieta Dentone is a sophomore in the Battlefield journalism program. She is an active member of Key Club and the Informational Technology programs at the school. She’s passionate about journalism and soccer, where she plays for the VSA Club team.