Bishop Ludden Junior-Senior High School

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Alumni Spotlight

An Interview with: Cara Smith, Class of 2017
Currently a student at Cornell University, Cara Smith was the valedictorian of the class of 2017. Read on to learn why Cara Smith is proud to be a Ludden grad!

Q: Why did your family choose Bishop Ludden?

A: My family chose Ludden because the school I was at before wasn't at the level I needed to succeed. Also, Ludden offered me a partial scholarship.

Q: Did anyone else in your family go to Ludden or a Catholic School?

A: Nope! I was the first one.

Q: What activities did you most enjoy at Ludden (academic, arts, music, clubs, sports, religious...)?

At Ludden, I was a part of the Drama Club, Peer Ministry, Science Olympiad and Chem Club, and Soccer.

Q: Besides having the highest average, why were you the valedictorian (motivation, love of knowledge?)?

A: You know that feeling you get when people keep telling you that you can't do something but that only makes you way more motivated to do it so you can prove them wrong? That feeling is why I became valedictorian.

Q: How did Ludden help you grow spiritually?

Ludden is a service-oriented school: you actually have to go out and do a certain amount of volunteer work each year in order to graduate. I've always considered community service one of the best ways to connect with God. To love God, you must love others, and that's what service teaches you.

Q: Is there any particular teacher who inspired you? How so?

A: Mr. Tom Pietropalao, the history teacher and musical director. He believed in the potential of every student who walked through the doors of Ludden.

Q: What are you majoring in at Cornell and how did Ludden prepare you for that course of study?

I'm majoring in bioengineering at Cornell. I took an amazing AP Biology class my senior year at Ludden, and our teacher, Mrs. McDonald, encouraged us to discuss in class science-y things we heard about in the news or online, and to even come up with our own ideas (a friend and I in that class talked about making plant people, a.k.a people who can photosynthesize, for several months). She really got everyone, including me, passionate about biology, and it's why I chose the major I did.

Q: What are your career goals and why did you choose them?

I want to work on medical devices, possibly even artificial organs. Though we've made a lot of progress in the past 100 years, there's still too many illnesses we don't have the tools to cure.

Q: What advice would you give to students or their families who might be planning to attend Ludden?

Advice to students: You get what you put into it. And succeeding is not about being smart - I was not the smartest person in my grade at all - it's about being hardworking. 

Advice to families: Listen to your kids: hear their opinions without dismissing them. They sometimes know a thing or two.