Ready for takeoff: Bronco senior exemplifies all-round excellence


Maddox Fornataro

Catherine Lee (far right) joins Andrea Betancourt and Samantha Izzo at the Dance Marathon table during Spirit Week to sell merchandise and shaving cream to pie teachers.

The classic overachiever, Bronco senior Catherine Lee, takes National Honor Society (NHS) by the reins, participates in multiple sports, and excels in the AICE curriculum, but her true passion has her reaching for the sky.  

Lee has dreamed of becoming a private pilot since she was young. With her father being an airline pilot, and her mother serving in the army for 9 years, they introduced her to day-to-day workings of the military since she was a kid. 

“They (her parents) both introduced me to that lifestyle,” said senior Catherine Lee, who attended the U.S. Naval Academy 2021 summer seminar, U.S. West Point Academy 2021 summer seminar, and the 2021 AIM U.S. Coast Guard Academy Program. “After going to a few military boot camps I realized this is what I really wanted to do.”

Determined to follow her parent’s footsteps, Lee set out to be very focused on school and made it her goal to join extracurricular activities that would enable her to achieve her goal of attending the prestigious West Point Academy, in West Point, New York to study management. Through her high school years, Lee has participated in activities such as Model United Nations, National Technical Honor Society, and Bible Youth Camps.

The most prominent activity on campus, however, is Lee’s involvement with NHS. Lee has been the president of NHS for two years and expressed that the club has helped her with time management, communication, and public speaking, giving her a greater appreciation for all the hard work of class council and SGA.   

Lee’s proudest achievement has been getting a congressional nomination from Florida’s Congresswoman Lois Frankel for the Air Force Academy. In order to earn the nomination, she had to complete five 500 word personal statements, submit all her grades, transcripts, SAT scores, and have three recommendation letters in order to complete an application. She then received word she had qualified for an interview in front of Frankel’s congressional board. Nominations are based on “whole person” evaluation. Factors such as academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, leadership skills, physical aptitude, character, and motivation are all taken into consideration and compared with other applicants.

Lee has also shown dedication in the classroom, excelling in the rigorous AICE curriculum and earning her AICE Diploma. 

Additionally, Lee has been heavily involved in the sciences, participating in the National Science Honor Society and experimental science for two years. In experimental science, a class taught by AICE teacher Mr. Bartenslager, Lee was a State Science Fair finalist twice. Her first project entitled “The Enhanced Degradation of Polyvinyl Alcohol by Rhizopus and Pre-treatment with Fentons Reagent,” won her second place Chemistry at Palm Beach Regional Science Fair and a special award from the United States Air Force. Her second project, “Decreasing Acoustic Footprint of Marine Propellers Using Geometric Modifications,” won her second place Engineering at Palm Beach Regional Science Fair and a special award from the Navy League of the United States.

Catherine advanced to the State Science Fair (SSEF) her first year, which is rare,”  said Mr. Bartenslager. “She also advanced to SSEF her second year with a totally different project, which is also rare as most students continue with the same project for 2-3 years.”

Not only was Mr. Bartenslager her science teacher, but he was also her soccer coach when Lee was in middle school. Soccer is only one of the many sports Catherine has participated in at Central. She was also a varsity athlete for cross country, track, and water polo. Lee hopes to keep running track and playing water polo when she goes to college. 

When not on the track, in the pool, or behind her computer screen, Lee still finds time to go late night driving, tubing, and hanging out at IHOP with friends. This stellar Bronco student has set the bar sky-high.