4-28-2017 – Norco – Meet Caitlyn McGinley, a senior at John F. Kennedy Middle College High School (JFK).
Caitlyn made the transition from Santiago High School (SHS) to JFK her sophomore year. At JFK, she had the opportunity to dual enroll at Norco College (NC) and earn college credits. Today, she maintains a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 4.28, ranks number 6 in a class of 189, and is set to play Division I Softball at Stanford University in the fall.
“Caitlyn is a beautiful young woman both inside and out,” said Lacy Carson, JFK Counselor, “She stands out in a crowd and is a positive role model among her peers. The fact that she is an accomplished athlete and maintains a rigorous high school and college course load is astonishing to me.”
Her accomplishments go beyond the classroom; Caitlyn is extensively involved in extracurricular activities. She is currently the Captain and the Catcher for her softball team, SoCal Athletics. Caitlyn has been playing competitive softball for ten years and for a couple years also played softball for SHS. In addition, she is the JFK student class Associated Student Body Vice President, the Fitness Club treasurer, and a member of the Make a Wish Foundation on campus.
John F. Kennedy Middle College High School
Caitlyn made the switch from Santiago High School to John F. Kennedy her sophomore year. The central purpose of JFK is to provide opportunities for “middle students” to access career, technical and collegiate pathways.
“Everyone is very respectful here,” said Caitlyn, “People hold the door open for you, people are very concerned about others and they take the time to learn your name.”
It’s a school with a family atmosphere.
“It really is a family atmosphere,” said Caitlyn, “It’s really cool because we can all celebrate each other’s triumphs and and we can all relate to each other’s troubles and struggles with college classes.”
JFK is a campus where everyone knows everyone.
Dr. Sarah Ragusa, Principal at JFK, says Caitlyn struck her as someone who is super hard-working and extremely motivated.
“I couldn’t be any more proud of her,” said Dr. Ragua, “She’s a perfect example of what’s possible at JFK if you really access all of your resources and take advantage of all your opportunities.”
Caitlyn’s biggest mentor is her dad, Bruce McGinley.
“I believe JFK helped Caity develop her skills and intercommunication with other students,” said Bruce, “I think that her transfer here to JFK from a larger school provided her the ability and the chance to get to know more students on a personal level and I believe that it brought out her personality and leadership skills.”
He tries to constantly remind her nobody is perfect.
“She has someone of a streak in her that she wants wants to seek perfection,” said Bruce, “And I tell her to seek excellence, it doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect.”
She says her overall experience at Norco College was a great one. Caitlyn is also part of the Honors Program at NC.
“They were definitely challenging but not anything that wasn’t manageable,” she said.
Her most challenging class was a six-week Chemistry course that ran from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m Monday through Thursday.
“It was definitely a challenge to manage that class because I just remember waking up and being really tired in the morning,” she said.
She found motivation in her classmates, friends, and teachers. Caitlyn constantly reminded herself all the classes she was taking would help her get accepted into Stanford. She says the sacrifices she has had to make have helped her build character.
She will graduate JFK with 43 college credits and continue her studies at Stanford will she will major in a STEM related field.
Stanford & Softball
“It’s honestly pretty difficult to balance practice, volunteer work, and classes,” said Caitlyn.
To balance her full workload, Caitlyn took night college courses.
“I personally had to take night courses to fit in my high school practices,” she said.
After night classes at Norco College, she would attend practice with her club team.
“I’d be getting home at 9 or 10 o’clock after practice completely exhausted,” she said, “When I look back at it now, I just think it’s really worth all the strife I faced because it’s going to prepare me for a college athlete lifestyle.”
She volunteers at the Corona Girls Softball Association where she used to play softball. Her duties include helping train and develop 8 to 12-year-old athletes.
“I basically teach them different drills, calisthenics, how to properly warm-up, how to properly throw,” she said, “I mainly focus on Catchers because that’s my position.”
Caitlyn focuses on teaching the girls it’s okay to be strong.
“I really want to focus on teaching the girls that it’s okay to be strong,” she said, “You don’t have to be a little docile girl, it’s really important to acquire skills that will help you face challenges.”
The first time Caitlyn saw Standford play softball she knew it was the school she wanted to attend.
“I remember watching Stanford play and being really impressed,” she said.
Caitlyn currently plays softball for SoCal Athletics and will play Division I Softball at Stanford University in the fall.
“For college, I want to tell her to always be true to herself,” said Bruce, And know that she is going to a school with a lot of brilliant young kids and young minds and not to compete with them, but to do her best.”
Caitlyn advises her peers to listen to their heart.
“I think that you really need to listen to your heart but you also need to know what you’re capable of,” she said, “You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. You want to make sure you have people around you that love and support you.”
On her spare time, Caitlyn likes to swim, read, and listening to music. She is also a fan of Harry Potter and Star Wars.
Check out the video below!