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Catarina Goncalves is 17 years old and will be a senior in the fall of 2009. She grew up in Dorchester with her mother and twin sister, Monica. Catarina and her sister were the first of her relatives to be born in the United States. Because of this, Catarina is very close with her family and appreciates their Portuguese traditions and values. Catarina attended the Cambridge Friends School, a very small private school in Cambridge, MA, from kindergarten until the 6th grade. Catarina feels that the tight knit family atmosphere of her elementary school helped her to develop into an independent person with a strong mind for what is right. An integral part of Catarina’s elementary school experience was the message of tolerance and justice. These values paired with those instilled by her mother and family are a large part of why Catarina was interested in public service and the Ward Fellowship.

In the third grade, Catarina began attending Portuguese School, an afterschool program which helped to improve her reading and writing skills in the Portuguese language. Though Portuguese School was difficult at times, Catarina found it to be a positive experience because it greatly improved her proficiency in her family’s native language. In the 7th Grade, Catarina began attending Boston Latin School. This proved to be a jolting experience for her because she went from an elementary of school of less than 300 students total to a much larger school where there were almost 2400 students.

After adjusting to her new school environment, Catarina began to flourish and join clubs and sports teams within the Boston Latin School community. Catarina has played tennis since she was 6 years old and will finish her 6th year of playing varsity tennis in the spring of 2010. Since 2005, Catarina has been involved in EPIIC, a club in partnership with Tufts University in which students from various high schools across the country take on the roles of countries and simulate meetings between the various delegations. Catarina is also the vice president of the Fashion Talent club at Boston Latin School.

Catarina has always wanted to make a positive impact on her community and feels that public service is the perfect avenue to do so. Catarina currently fulfills her desire to improve her community by volunteering as much as possible. Catarina volunteers every thanksgiving at the Long Island Homeless Shelter. She also traveled to New Orleans during Christmas break in 2008 with her family to build a home that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina with Habitat for Humanity. Catarina hopes to one day pursue a career in public service or law in order to give a voice to those who lack the ability to use their own. Catarina is currently interning for Representative Linda Dorcena-Forry.