Q&A with CJ National Merit Achievers

Congratulations to six seniors who have been recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Matthew Boudinot ’15, Erin Carmody ‘15, Emily Meyer ‘15, Monica Rains ‘15, and Grace Saunders ‘15 were named Commended Students in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program. In addition, classmate Aaron Talib ’15 was recognized as an Outstanding Participant in the National Achievement Scholarship Program.

These six students provided us with answers to the following six questions:

1. Who is your biggest influence?

Monica Rains: My biggest influence has been my parents. They have always pushed me to do my best and encouraged me to pursue what I am interested in.

Matthew Boudinot: My biggest influence is probably my grandfather on my mom's side. He has taught me all about golf and pushes me to succeed in school and in everything I do. He is a great role model and a great influence on my faith as a Catholic. 

Grace Saunders: My mother is my biggest influence. She is a major role model in my life and I strive to be like her. She has taught me to always put forth my best effort, stay positive, and never give up.

Emily Meyer: My biggest influences are my parents, because they support me in everything I do.

Aaron Talib: My father is probably my biggest influence. He has been the proverbial rock that has kept me grounded. He's my best friend and has been vital to my growth. I try to emulate him as much as I can.

Erin Carmody: My parents are my biggest influence. They push me through everything.

2. What is your favorite school subject and why?

Monica: My favorite school subject is biology. I enjoy learning about the intricate details of life.

Matthew: My favorite school subject is math just because it is fun. I like working with numbers and it keeps my brain stimulated.

Grace: My favorite subject in school is AP Spanish because I love learning about another culture and the language has always interested me.

Emily: My favorite school subject is math because I have loved it my whole life.

Aaron: My favorite school subject in history. I look at history as a story that gets told generation after generation. We learn from history and what others have done in the past as a means to dictate the present and future.

Erin: I like biology a lot. I really like science and knowing how the body works through biology interests me. 

3. What extracurricular activities are you a part of at CJ? 

Monica: I was a part of the women's crew team in the past. Currently, I am an Eagle Ambassador, a member of Eagles for Life, a member of the Environmental Club, and I might join the Mock Trial team. 

Matthew: At CJ, I just finished my last year of varsity golf and I also do Science Olympiad. I was also part of the Magnified Giving philanthropy club.

Grace: I am president of Key Club. I am an Eagle Ambassador and Student Development Chair. I am also a member of Eagles for Life, varsity soccer, and FLIGHT.

Emily: I am involved in soccer, lacrosse, Key Club, JCOWA, Eagle Ambassadors, National Honor Society, and Liturgical Choir.

Aaron: I participate in marching band, tech crew for CJ theater productions, and play on tennis. I also participate in CJ's first rock band group, The Monday Night Project.

Erin: I am a rower and an Eagle Ambassador. I am in JCOWA as well.

4. If you could give advice to a new CJ student, what would it be? 

Monica: My advice to a new CJ student would be to take advantage of some of the many opportunities available at CJ. Also, there are so many great classes offered at CJ so don't be afraid to try a new class even if you think that it might be a challenging one.

Matthew: My advice to a new CJ student would be to keep up with your homework, but also to keep up with your sleep. If you stay on top of homework, and get good sleep, you are bound for success.

Grace: My advice to any incoming CJ students would be to get involved! CJ has an amazing and unique community and there is a place for everyone. There are so many opportunities to find something you love. Try everything!

Meyer: If I could give advice to a new CJ student, I would tell them to get involved in as much as possible, but don't let it overwhelm you.

Aaron: Don't be afraid of success and don't let failure dictate your future.

Erin: My advice would be to do all of your homework and study for tests. 

5. If you could invite any famous person to graduation, who would it be? Why?

Monica: I would invite Pope Francis to our graduation because I would love to meet him and hear what he has to say.

Matthew: I would invite Phil Mickelson, a professional golfer, because he is very generous with his time and money, and he could explain what it takes to be successful and what it means to live your dream in life.

Grace: I would invite Beyoncé. A performance by Beyoncé at graduation would make our graduation unforgettable.

Emily: I would invite the cast of the Harry Potter movies and J. K. Rowling because Harry Potter is my favorite.

Aaron: I would invite Mahatma Gandhi. He is probably the person I most idolize from a historic standpoint. He was a groundbreaking leader and his methods not only invoked the usage of compromise, but it brought together an entire nation.

Erin: I would invite Pope Francis. He is a very humble pope and very inspiring.

6. Where will you be in 10 years and what will you be doing? 

Monica: In 10 years I want to be back in Dayton, or near Dayton, and be completing my first couple years of residency. 

Matthew: In 10 years, I plan to be on the PGA Tour, hopefully with a wife and kids. I will still be strong in my faith and I will be a gentleman to all. I want to be a role model that everyone can look up to, and that my family can be proud of.

Grace: In 10 years, I hope to have a career as an educator or oncologist. I plan to be traveling the world and experiencing as many cultures as possible.

Emily: I will be doing some sort of research in a lab, maybe finding the cure for cancer.

Aaron: In 10 years, I hope to be working at ESPN, having a good career as a producer and director for ESPN's new online YouTube show, which I spearheaded. I hope to have a family, but most of all, I hope in 10 years to be simply content with life.

Erin: In 10 years, I will be just out of medical school so hopefully in an internship.