PASADENA — In celebration of Catholic Schools Week, many parochial schools are letting their spirit shine with special dress-up days, school dances and assemblies.
Catholic Schools Week takes place at the end of January each year in honor of Catholic education. This year, to celebrate Catholic Schools Week at St. Philip the Apostle, the school hosted a Career/Vocation Day.
Students got a glimpse of the future Jan. 28 as they listened to four panelists discuss their chosen professions. More than 200 fifth-through-eighth-graders listened attentively as Rocio Marquez, Zach Ramirez, Tony Abdalla and Jennifer Ricchiazzi talked about how their Catholic education and upbringing plays a role in what they do.
Rocio Marquez, who is a finance assistant with Participant Media, assists entertainment professionals by booking tours, scheduling promotional shoots and managing sponsorships. A graduate from Loyola Marymount University, Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High School and Santa Isabel Catholic School, Rocio told the students that she enjoys “being of service to others” due to her Catholic heritage.
Animator Zach Ramirez wowed the students with his drawings of “Nico and the Sword of Light,” which airs on Amazon Prime. Ramirez told the audience that the best part of his profession is that he was able to take his hobby and turn it into a career.
Ramirez, who also attended Catholic schools throughout his life, said that it was his elementary school art teacher at St. Philip the Apostle that influenced him the most.
“It was really nice having someone like Mrs. Slater pushing me in all aspects of art,” said Ramirez.
Tony Abdalla, a South Pasadena police officer and Commander of Special Enforcement (SWAT), impressed the students as he talked about his 26 years in law enforcement. He talked about how “no two days are alike” and how he trains weekly to keep up his skills, which include range training, building searches and enrichment days.
Abdalla said it is “essential to have strong writing and critical thinking skills” as a law enforcement officer. Abdalla, who is a lifelong Catholic, and originally wanted to be a physician, truly believes his profession is a calling.
“There is no better feeling than to go out and help someone who can’t help themselves,” Abdalla said.
Casting director Jennifer Ricchiazzi, who attended St. Dominic Elementary School and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, encouraged the students to intern at a casting agency in order to break into the field. She said the key to being a good casting director is to listen and communicate well.
She told the students that having strong math skills is also important when running your own casting agency.
The four panelists provided the audience with creative career choices and positive insight on how a Catholic upbringing and education makes a positive influence on future careers.
“I learned that you can be anything you want to be and do anything you want to do if you work hard for it and set your mind to it,” said Lindsey Michelena, who is currently a sixth grader at St. Philip.