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Aislinn McCarthy - Class of 2017

What was your experience like at the SJA? I was genuinely blessed with a wonderful experience at SJA. I had an amazing class that I was super close with and always supported me. My buddies were always super sweet kiddos and I wish I could have stayed at the school to watch them grow up to be brilliant kids. I never felt out of place at SJA and knew that whenever I would come back that they would welcome me with open arms. I have always considered the school another home to me and I miss all the friendly smiles from the staff and laughter of the cafeteria.

Did you have a teacher that influenced you? Ms. Lindy was probably the teacher that influenced me the most throughout my time at SJA. She always challenged me as a student but made sure I knew that I was capable of succeeded. She gave me more opportunities than I could have asked for like taking me to Outdoor School and two separate trips across the country, first to Washington DC and the DC and New York City. I would say that a lot of her lessons and the projects she made us do are the ones that were the most impactful and useful in high school. Not only was Ms. Lindy an incredible teacher but she was also my Confirmation Sponsor.

What was student life like, any lessons you took away with you? I think the biggest lesson I took away was that hard work really does pay off. SJA taught me how to be ambitious and work for what I wanted. It taught me to be driven and all ways strive for improvement. Had I never attended SJA, I probably wouldn’t have pushed so much and continued onto La Salle. Because of SJA preparing me for La salle, I was given the opportunity to continue my education at the #1 public university and #4 best university in the world. It’s because of this school and the hardworking effort I learned here that I am where I am today.

Did you attend Mass each week or daily? I attended mass each week on Thursday with the school.

How did SJA prepare you for High school? I think the biggest thing for me was how much SJA pushed me to be a better student. I was challenged at SJA so when I transferred to La Salle, the challenge and push to be better wasn’t anything new. Plus, memorizing the entire periodic table has come in quite handy in the 2 years of Chemistry I took in HS and now hopefully a degree in chemistry!

What High School did you go to? La Salle Catholic College Preparatory

Did you go on to further education after High School or the Service? I am currently a freshman at the University of California Berkeley.

Tell us about your extra-curricular activities and achievements? Throughout high school, I continued to play my favorite sports dance and swim. I danced at my studio (Van de Veere Productions) and my two classmates and I actually created the first state competing dance team at our HS as LS did not have a dance team for over 10+ years. That probably had to be my biggest accomplishment from the past 4 years, being able to bring something I was passionate about to our school and now see it carrying on our legacy even after we have graduated. Other than that, I swam varsity on both my club and school swim team and was captain for LS during my junior and senior year. Outside of sports I also was apart of National Honors Society, the Outdoor Club, Link Crew, and I was a student ambassador. I also participated in Theatre at both LS and my separate theatre company, Krayon Kids Musical Theatre Company. I was lucky enough to perform and choreograph in 8 shows with LS over the years and 7 shows with Krayon Kids. After Covid hit, I had quite a bit of free time so I got a job in May of 2020 at Papa Murphy’s Take N’ Bake Pizza and worked there up until the day before I left for college.

Please tell us about your family members, parents, spouse, children, grandchildren? At the moment, my family is just my mom (Cindy McCarthy), my brother (Aidan McCarthy), me, and all of our pets☺. My brother is starting his junior year at La Salle and plays with the soccer and swim team. My mom is a flight attendant and inflight trainer with Alaskan Airlines and continued to fly throughout the entire Covid-19 pandemic to support our family.

Where have you lived, beyond Oregon? I have always lived in Oregon up until I moved to Berkeley, CA this past month for college.

Are you involved with SJA now, Parish and or School? Every once in awhile I still alter serve for Father Maxy and I was an assistant swim coach for the SJA swim team up until Covid started.

What favorite memory do you have about your time at SJA? I remember answering this same exact question for the yearbook just over four years ago and my answer still hasn’t changed. There was a day right before the school year started for 8th grade, that us prefects came in to help Mrs. Haluska set up some of the classrooms. About halfway through she took us to 7/11 and we got massive slurpees. All I really remember after that was all of us trying to put classrooms together but we all had horrible sugar highs and ended up rolling down the hallways on spinney chairs. I have so many other amazing memories from SJA, but that day really made me realize that SJA truly gave me lifelong friends.

If you had a word to describe your elementary school what would it be and why? Bright – honestly, I just remember elementary school as a warm bubbly experience. Almost all of my memories from then are good memories and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I remember at the end of 3rd grade, Ms. Powell gave us all a rock with a word on it to describe us. The word I got was “bright” and that’s exactly the same word I would use to describe those simpler times☺

Going to school, working or retired what are you involved in, favorite hobby, what do you enjoy doing in your free time and do you have plans for the future? Currently, I am starting the long and difficult path of college at UC Berkeley with a major in Chemistry and a minor in Spanish. At some point in the next 4 years I hope to study abroad and volunteer with GIVE Volunteers (an organization dedicated to maintaining the environment and building educational resources for kids internationally). In my free time I enjoy watching MARVEL movies (I’m a huge marvel fan), hiking when I can, and going on spontaneous little adventures. I love being outdoors and, in the water, so any activity that lets me do one or both of those things, I am happy with☺

Any advice you would give to students attending SJA now and in the future? Maybe this phrase normally come across as a joke, but I truly mean it with the best intentions... “YOLO” meaning “you only live once.” As I’ve gotten older, I noticed that a lot of the time people make decisions based off of what other people are saying or doing, but that’s just a waste of time. I’ve learned that you have the most fun when you just do something you want to do, but the kicker is it has to push you just a little bit outside of your comfort zone. Some of my favorite memories from high school were just spontaneous random adventures that my friends and I decided to do, like hiking 4 miles straight up the side of a mountain or having a picnic in a tree. If you don’t worry about what others will think, you will never regret pushing yourself just a little past comfort. Even if you’re scared, do it anyway because you only live once and you better make it count.

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