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Faculty/Staff Spotlight: Meet Union Catholic's Catarina Portillo

In our latest installment of Faculty/Staff Spotlight, we shine the spotlight on Union Catholic's Catarina Portillo.
 
Here is our Q and A with Portillo -  
 
Years of service at Union Catholic?
 
12 years 
 
Current positions and clubs you moderate?
 
Teacher of Spanish
Portuguese Club Moderator
Middle States
 
Education:
 
Union High School - Class of  2005
Saint Peter’s University- BA in Spanish in 2009
Saint Peter’s University-MA in Educational Leadership in 2015
 
Did you play sports or were you in any clubs etc. during your high school/college days?  
 
While in high school I was a member of the Spanish Club and the National Spanish Honor Society. In college, I was Vice President of the Education Honor Society (Kappa Delta Pi) and President of the Student Education Association. I was also a member of the EOF Honor Society and the International Foreign Language Honor Society.
 
I also worked at ShopRite when I was in high school. I am an expert bagger. While in college, I worked on campus and also worked as a pharmacy technician for Walgreens. 
 
Before UC: What did you do after you graduated from college and before you started at UC?
 
After I graduated, I began working at Union High School. I covered a maternity leave and was a substitute teacher. At that time, it was very hard to find teaching positions and I began looking outside of education. I started working for Enterprise Rent a Car until I started at UC.
 
Your UC Journey: How did you wind up at UC?
 
I remember seeing the job post online and immediately applying for it. Mrs. Andrews reached out to me and I came in for an interview. I loved the school the minute I walked in. Everyone was so caring and helpful and I saw what a wonderful community it is. I was called back for another interview and I have been living the dream ever since.
 
Biggest changes you’ve seen at UC since you’ve been here?
 
I think the implementation of Canvas has been a big change for us. It has allowed us to develop lessons and organize everything online. This facilitates so much for our students and helps them prepare for college.
 
What do you love the most about working at Union Catholic?
 
I love many things about working at UC. The people I work with are fantastic. They are caring, loving and dedicated. UC has allowed me to grow as an educator and as a person. I think what I love most about UC is my students. They make me laugh and they brighten my day. I am excited to see them every day.
 
What is your favorite UC memory?
 
So many great things have happened in these past 12 years. One of my favorite memories is traveling through Paris and Barcelona with thirty students. We were able to experience the cultures and traditions of the locals while speaking the language. It was so wonderful to see the students try new things and fully embrace the cultures of others. Another of my favorite memories includes our trip to Utah. We had such a fun time!
 
What do you love the most about being part of the UC community? What makes UC so
special?
 
I love being part of this community! We care about each other and support one another. UC is a special place because it’s a family.
 
What’s something about yourself that most people don’t know that would surprise people?
 
While in college, I took criminal justice courses. I traveled through Europe learning about their judicial system. After I graduated, I applied for jobs in the FBI, DEA and CIA. I almost worked for the DEA.
 
Favorite things to do in your spare time?
 
Travel! I love to travel with my family. It is a great feeling to be in a new place and experience new cultures. My favorite part of traveling is the FOOD!
 
Favorite core value and why?
 
Community! It is the reason I love UC. 
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