Cool Girl of the Month: Catherine Adams


Credit: Grace Foster

Catherine, left, with fellow senior Grace Foster at the rescue squad center

Olivia Gallmeyer, Managing News Editor

In this new interview series, the Western Hemisphere is taking a look at some of the talented and driven women of WAHS. This time, we talked to senior Catherine Adams, this year’s Emily Couric Leadership Scholarship nominee and a captain of the varsity girls’ swim and dive team. Read on as Catherine discusses the woes of scholarship applications, how to become a certified paramedic, and the best potential celebrity mom.

WH: You’re Western’s nominee for the Emily Couric Scholarship. How’d you first apply for it?

CA: So I actually didn’t really decide to apply for it, my mom insisted that I apply for it! But I didn’t really want to do it at first because I didn’t think that it’d be worth it in the end- I figured someone from the Leadership class was probably going to get it. And so I talked to Ms. Padron about it, and then the day it was actually due, I had done the essay but then I didn’t realize that I had to have a resume with it, so I had to go back into my Google Docs and find the folder that we made resumes back in sophomore year or something, adjust that, and then turn that in!

WH: So were you surprised to find out you were the nominee after that?

CA: I was very surprised! They gave me a letter that said “please come for additional questions,” so I thought that it was going to be like a second round and that there were going to be follow-up questions. I sat down and I was like “guys, if this is an interview I don’t think I’m gonna be able to do this!” I was literally wearing leggings and a T-shirt, I was just so nervous, it was the end of the day after school and it was just very nerve-wracking and very surprising.

WH: You’re also a member of the local rescue squad. Why did you decide to get involved with that?

CA: I knew for a long time that I wanted to be in the medical field, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do and I still don’t really know, but I wanted to get some hands-on, practical knowledge and skills to start my career. I know several of the people at the rescue squad because my dad used to run there for sixteen years as a paramedic. I decided that I was going to kind of continue in his legacy, plus I wanted to start a career and have that knowledge, and also be more community involved.

WH: What’s the process of training to work as a paramedic?

CA: I started training June of 2015, I remember because my mom took a picture when I was starting out with my first observation shift.  For observation shifts, you stay at the rescue squad for a certain number of hours, and if they get a call you go with them. Basically, you just see what they do. I did the observations, and then I kept bugging the people there about the EMT class, because I knew that they did them twice a year normally, and it was January and they hadn’t had one yet. I told them “okay, this is annoying, please just come up with a class that I could take!” And then finally I signed up for one, it ran through the summer- I finished it this past July. You have to take a practical, hands-on exam to show your skills, and then once you pass that you have to take a cognitive exam. I actually just finished that last weekend!

WH: And now that you took the cognitive, you’re officially certified?

CA: Officially I’m an EMT, but then you have to be released to whichever agency you’re running through. So I’m running for the Western Albemarle Rescue Squad because that’s the one in Crozet, and so there I have to be released to work. I can do everything now, but I need to be approved to do everything without someone watching me.

WH: You’re also a captain on the swim team. How’s it different leading the team?

CA: It’s really nice since we’re a really close-knit group, but honestly I thought that having to learn the freshmen’s names and meeting them would be weird. I was so used to having the same people, like every year that’s your team. And then you have the newcomers, and you have to incorporate them and now these kids are three years younger than me. It’s not that big of a difference, but at the same time it kind of is. It’s really nice though to finally be the captain, my freshman and sophomore year I always thought it’d be cool to say “oh yeah, I was the captain of that team” and be able to lead it that way.

WH: What’s something about you that people wouldn’t expect?

CA: Well, I wear hiking boots almost every single day of my life, and I do that because I say that I’m always going to be prepared to hike a trail or go on an adventure. As a kid I was always climbing trees, building rock sculptures, throwing mud and making potions in the woods. All of that stuff! I love just anything and everything earthy.

WH: So what do you like to do outdoors now?

CA: Definitely hiking. I like going canoeing and kayaking, and camping is always a lot of fun. And not RV camping, this is tent camping! Just chilling outdoors.

WH: Finally, if you had to choose any celebrity as your parent, who would you choose?

CA: Meryl Streep! Meryl Streep is my real mom! I’m obsessed with “Mamma Mia,” I haven’t seen it as a play but it’s a great movie, and Meryl Streep plays the mom in that movie. I was obsessed with it when it first came out, and for the swim team we actually did a girl’s night and we watched “Mamma Mia.” From that day on I was convinced. I even tell that to my mom; in my contacts my mother’s name is actually Meryl Streep.