by Melanie Zhang ’22
Published May 10th, 2021
As the old saying goes, hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. While she may not be a dance prodigy or a genius, through her positivity, hard work, and dedication, MHS junior Catherine Gonzalez is both a delight and a force to be reckoned with.
After starting Irish dance as a child, Catherine soon realized that she “wasn’t naturally talented [like] a lot of kids in [her] class.” But her love for the activity outweighed any struggles she might have experienced from having less natural talent. “I exuded joy when I did those dances,” she says.
Catherine loved to make rhythms and learn new dances, but when her teachers didn’t assign her new choreography, Catherine went ahead and figured out the dances on her own. “One of my favorite ways to learn dance is by watching other people… when I was supposed to be practicing my own steps [I] would be practicing what the people next to me were doing and I’d be trying that out,” she says. Through this, Catherine was able to learn choreography in advance, go to class, and build off of what she already knew.
Beyond taking initiative, she says that she also developed a strong sense of perseverance through Irish dance, which served her well in her other activities like Mock Trial.
Starting off as an understudy her freshman year, Catherine was consistently one of the team’s most dedicated members. “I remember having the mentality [that] everything is a chance to prove yourself [and] I wanted to involve myself as much as possible,” she says. With this mentality, she improved as a speaker despite the speech issues she had as a child. Now, after serving as a witness and the team’s administrator, she is ecstatic to be an attorney her senior year.
In addition, Catherine always brings with her an atmosphere of positivity and enthusiasm. She loves to make small projects or Mock Trial-related memes in order to make her friends and teammates smile. For instance, Catherine wanted to make the “junior jewels t-shirt that Taylor Swift had in one video” for a friend who was a big fan of Taylor Swift, but the pandemic made this a difficult task to complete. So instead, she made a virtual version and asked people for signatures.
That summer, Catherine also began work on a more ambitious project for the winter: putting together a holiday concert over Zoom for her loved ones to share music and art during quarantine. “I counted down the days,” she remarked. “I was so excited.” Her efforts paid off, and The Holiday Concert of the Arts was an unforgettable experience for all involved.
Now, Catherine is working on a virtual yearbook full of good memories from the school year as it comes to a close. “I’m excited for school to end,” she says. “I’m also just really excited about the opportunities that summer might hold.”
As for next year, she is excited to continue working hard at Mock Trial, Irish dance, and whatever else that comes her way.