Each week, San Bruno Patch will feature an amazing kid, youth group, teen or sports team that wows us with their accomplishments.
This week, we feature a high school student who, in addition to her busy life in school, is active in Leadership and sports, is a lifeguard at the San Bruno Park Pool, president of the Youth Activities Committee and a volunteer with her church.
Name/Age: Claudia Calonje, 16
Accomplishment: Claudia is dedicated not only to her school by participating in Leadership and being on the basketball and swim teams but also to her community by being a lifeguard at the San Bruno Park Pool, the president of the city's Youth Activities Committee and a volunteer at .
As president of the youth committee, better known as YAC, Claudia leads the group on planning events for the youths of San Bruno. They help out with the concerts and movies in the park.
She started off as a volunteer at the pool helping out during swim lessons and did this for three years before applying for a lifeguard position.
“I’ve always been the person to go out and try and get stuff to do,” said Claudia, who had been taking swim lessons since she was 7. “I had a lot fun and it prepared me for the job.”
Last summer was her first as a lifeguard.
In addition to being on guard during recreation swimming, Claudia teaches swim lessons to kids from ages 3 to 14.
“I love working with kids and feeling that connection with them that I had with my swim teachers,” she said. “One of the most memorable moments this summer was when I saw three girls I taught—Maddy, Lauren and Scarlett—at the concerts in the park and they ran up to me screaming ‘Teacher, teacher!’”
“It made my entire week,” she added.
Although being a lifeguard isn’t always glamorous, Claudia said she believes it’s worth it.
In addition to being lifeguard, Claudia volunteers for St. Robert’s Church. As a lector she does readings at Sunday church and helps out with programs.
Besides serving her community, Claudia also serves her school by being on the basketball and swim teams.
“She loves swimming,” said her father Arnold. “I always say she is like a fish—she never gets out of the swimming pool.”
Claudia has also participated in Leadership, which she describes as her third family, at her school for the last three years.
“I was going to do the International Baccalaureate diploma program at Capuchino, which is all advanced classes, until I realized that leadership plays a huge role in my life,” said Claudia, who is now taking five IB classes. “I didn't know how involved you could be with the school until I joined Leadership.”
The class meets at 6 a.m. to plan rallies, freshmen orientation, dances and fundraisers, and works to incorporate school spirit.
Motivation: “I'm determined to be the best person I can be, not only academically, not only socially, but as an all around person,” Claudia said. “Because I feel that I'm getting a lot accomplished, I want to encourage others to be the best person they can be, because they have the potential to be far more successful than anyone.”
Key to Awesomeness: “She is very extraverted, active, caring, very social and likes to get people involved, not just group of friends but everyone she can,” said Arnold Calonje, describing his daughter's natural ability to lead. “If there are no activities, she’ll make up activities for you.”
Jennie Tucker, a recreation services supervisor for the city, says Claudia always strives to do her best.
“Claudia is a hard working teenager that is always seeking out ways to get more involved in the community,” said Tucker.
Plans for the future: Despite all of her extracurricular activities, Claudia still maintains a 4.0 GPA.
Claudia said she has her heart set on Stanford University, although she knows how difficult it is to get accepted. She is thinking of doing something in the medical field, either as a nurse or in optometry.
Somehow, Claudia still manages to have a social life. Her hobbies include scrapbooking, organizing and swimming.
“I love swimming, it’s like my life,” she said.