Rotary Club honors a student in October

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By Special to the Monitor

Each academic year, the Rotary Club of Los Alamos honors students from the Los Alamos High School graduating class.

Students are selected on the basis of their academic record, service to the community and leadership qualities.

Catherine Chen has been named Rotary Student of the Month for October. She invited Lynn Lamb, her piano teacher for nine years, and David Thurston, her advanced as well as AP biology teacher for the past two years, to accompany her to the organization’s honoring luncheon held at UNM-LA.

Chen has challenged herself both in academics and in extracurricular activities. She started playing piano when she was 7-years-old and has performed well by winning first place four times in the state piano competitions.

In 2007, Chen won the Deborah Beene Memorial Music Scholarship and also took second place in 2006 and 2007 New Mexico Symphony Young Artist Piano Concerto Competition.

She won the 2006 Los Alamos Community Winds Orchestra competition and played with the orchestra as a feature young artist in a concert.

Actively participating in the various musical opportunities at LAHS, Chen is in the symphonic orchestra at LAHS, playing violin.

In addition, she also accompanied high school students in the all-state choir audition recently and has accompanied numerous students in solos and ensembles. Throughout the years, she has performed music for various occasions when the opportunity arises.

In particular, she said she enjoyed playing for the seniors at Sombrillo Nursing Home and Aspen Ridge Lodge. Lamb frequently arranged these performances before major holidays.

Along with her schoolwork, Chen is active in sports as well as other extracurricular activities.

She has been a dedicated athlete on the LAHS track and field team. Chen enjoys practices after school and the numerous meets always hoping to be an asset to the team. She won in the district pole vaulting in the 2006 and 2007 seasons and moved on to state competitions.

She received a recommendation to join Natural Helpers at LAHS and completed many hours of training to be a qualified person whom other schoolmates can seek for help. She is currently the vice president of the National Honor Society of LAHS as well as the captain of the Science Bowl team.

In her spare time, she also volunteers at the Los Alamos Medical Center and the local animal shelter.

Chen’s high school academic career has been diverse and challenging, as well.

She has completed six Advanced Placement courses and is taking four more this year to better prepare for college. Since freshman year, Chen has been the accompanist of the choir at the White Rock Methodist Church, and has been a student piano teacher to a total of nine students.

She plans to apply to more liberal-arts centered colleges, but has not yet decided on her major. In her free time, she enjoys going with friends to sports events, hiking, rock climbing, going to the movies and reading. Chen is the daughter of Bih-Ling and Shuh-Rong Chen.

The Rotary Club is an international organization of business and professional leaders who seek to promote the idea of service in the community, high ethical standards in all vocations and the achievement of international understanding and goodwill through these pursuits.