Catherine Hall '18
Imagine as a high school student being able to experience firsthand what it was like inside the United States Senate during the 2017 health care votes. Catherine Hall of Madeira can claim that rare opportunity.
Catherine, a senior from Great Falls, Virginia, has taken advantage of many of the opportunities that Madeira has to offer, including the Co-Curriculum internship program. Co-Curriculum is Madeira’s experiential learning program that enables its students to gain real-world experience while in high school. During her sophomore year, she interned at INOVA Head Start as part of her service placement. It was an eye opening and profound experience for Catherine that allowed her to learn what it was like to work with people from diverse backgrounds.
“The great thing about Head Start is that it’s a group of kids who have the same potential as everybody else - they just happen to be in a situation that’s not ideal. The most striking thing about working at Head Start is the language barrier. Some of them were bilingual and some were not. The teachers had to balance and navigate and learn how to approach learning in a different way. It was really great to see teachers, who I think are underappreciated anyways, try to approach a situation that they’re not necessarily trained in, and try to make the best of it.”
All juniors at Madeira intern on Capitol Hill for 5 weeks. Catherine’s family is from Alabama, so she interned with Alabama Senator Richard Shelby’s office. She said that it was incredibly valuable to witness the inner workings of the government, and the experience provided a great education.
“The biggest thing I learned about being on Capitol Hill was that government doesn’t work exactly the way that we imagine. It’s not as fast paced as we think it is. I learned a lot about the legislative process - I didn’t know that there were so many employees working for a Senator to help him/her balance their opinion on policy and understand current events that are happening.”
Catherine was so drawn in by working on Capitol Hill that she served as a Senate Page for Senator Shelby this past summer, in between her junior and senior years. Her pageship lasted only 3 weeks, but it turned out to be during a significant time for the government and the country. Catherine was working during the dramatic health care vote when Senator McCain was the deciding vote. She worked through the night, running amendments that were being voted upon.
The internship and pageship both left an indelible mark on Catherine. She is now looking to pursue political science or international relations in college and for her senior Co-Curriculum placement. Without Co-Curriculum, she never would have discovered this passion.
“Madeira offers so many great things. Co-Curriculum has just completely shaped the world through community service, and then how I view government, and now what I want to do with my life.”
In addition to her interest in politics, Catherine is an avid softball player, has played for Madeira all 3 years, and will play again this spring. She has excelled as Madeira’s catcher and has earned impressive honors, such as being named to the All-Independent School League Division A team last year.
The Madeira School was recently ranked the #1 Private High School in Virginia by Niche, as well as among the Top 25 Best Boarding Schools in the United States by Town & Country Magazine.