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St. Clare and Archbishop Mitty Alumnus Goes to College

Q&A with Santa Clara University Freshman Marcus Mata


Tell me about your Catholic School origin story: What grade did you enter, what schools did you attend, what sport did you play, and what clubs did you join? 

I began attending Catholic schools with preschool at St. Justin in Santa Clara. After that year, I moved to Saint Clare for elementary and middle school. In high school, I went to Archbishop Mitty. I participated in a variety of sports, such as football, volleyball, basketball, and track. I was also a part of campus ministry and the Filipino American club.

Up until 8th grade, how did your time as a Catholic school student transform you, personally and spiritually? What challenged you and inspired you?

My time at Saint Clare not only introduced me to lifelong friends but also showed me how important faith was in my life. My classmates helped me develop my identity and gave me a community where I felt welcomed. In the classroom, there was always an emphasis on putting my faith into action, and I was given every opportunity to do so. Whether through volunteering at the Family Giving Tree or field trips to the Sacred Heart Food Pantry, I learned just how important it is to serve others, especially those less fortunate.

How did your time as a Catholic high school student transform you personally and spiritually? What challenged you and inspired you?

At Mitty, my role in campus ministry emphasized mentoring and creating a safe space for all. The teachers, staff, and other students in campus ministry helped me see how my experiences can be a guiding tool for others. Like at Saint Clare, I felt welcomed in the Mitty community and wanted to ensure that everybody could have that same feeling.

Is there a particular aspect of Catholic schooling that stands out to you or is very important to you?  Is there a particularly memorable moment, event, or service opportunity you felt impacted by?

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to lead several retreats for both my peers and first- and second-year students while doing campus ministry in high school. During these retreats, I would give a talk to the retreatants explaining a challenge I faced in my life and my path to overcome it. Having an opportunity like this showed me just how critical mentorship is, and I cherish seeing how my life can have a positive impact on the lives of others.

If you had to use one word to describe what attending Catholic school was like for you, what would it be and why?

Attending Catholic schools has been rewarding because of the lessons I learned and the more considerable impact I feel I can have from attending them. Whether having a community that made me feel loved or the opportunity to impact other people's lives, my education was and continues to be a significant part of my identity.

What would you say if you were asked to recommend attending Catholic school to someone?

I highly recommend a Catholic School to anyone, as attending one brings a fuller view of the world to a student and their family. In other words, a Catholic education builds robust academic knowledge and strong character.

Marcus Mata is a freshman at Santa Clara University. He values patience and understanding of others. He lives with his loving family in Morgan Hill.

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