The beginning of the 2020-21 school year brought new family members to our St. Thomas Aquinas Faculty. We have been blessed to welcome them into our community and, although it has only been a short while, we have already benefitted in a myriad of ways from their contributions and their presence.
To better introduce them to our greater community, we invited these new faculty members to share their reflections on a series of questions. Today, we learn more about our new English teacher, Ms. Kathrine Graham.
A resident of Newmarket, Ms. Graham has an adorable two-year old son, Asa, with her husband, John Rainville. When not happily teaching classrooms of Saints, Kathrine (who goes by Katie) enjoys reading, writing, crafts, hiking, and listening to podcasts. She is a fan of Aroma Joe’s and considers herself both a dog and a cat person. She has a dog named Winnie and two cats named Duke and Kitty. “Winnie is very special. She’s a Pit Bull/Jack Russell mix and loves hiking. She has climbed a handful of the 4,000 footers in the White Mountains along with several other peaks in the state.”
Below, Katie answers some of our more personal questions and shares her thoughts on everything from personal accomplishment to memorable gifts.
What is one personal accomplishment that brings you the most pride? Running a half marathon was a big accomplishment for me, especially since I had never run a full mile without stopping before I was 27! I went through a training program on my own after I had successfully completed a 10k and I made a goal to finish in two and a half hours. I finished in two hours and twenty-seven minutes! I had a really bad injury a few years later, but I managed to put two more half -marathons on my list before I traded running for hiking. I tend to mix up my hobbies because I want to experience a little bit of everything, so I was proud of the fact that I stuck to improving my running— even running in the snow and rain.
How did you arrive in your current role at St. Thomas Aquinas? I have honestly put so much of this uncertain, Covid-19 summer behind me now that I found a teaching position here at STA. There was so much I had to endure, but ultimately being available at the end of the summer to apply for the open English position allowed everything to fall into place. I value the opportunity so much and these first few weeks have been amazing!
If you had the power to change one problem in the world, what would it be? I would want to end world hunger. Of all of the things that humans endure, I feel that hunger digs deep into us. Hunger can make you do things you wouldn’t otherwise be morally willing to do. Providing that foundation could change so many lives and allow people to live to their full potentials.
Do you know why your parents selected your name for you? “Katie” and “Katherine” were very popular my birth year, but there is a significance to the spelling of my name! My father was put in charge of the birth certificate paperwork, so he spelled my first name phonetically: Kathrine. Most people misspell it—but it is how Kathrine Switzer, the first female to run the Boston Marathon, spells it so I’m happy to now have that connection! We are also both January birthdays!
Of all the places you have traveled, which one is your favorite? I really enjoyed backpacking in the Grand Canyon. My husband and I read books and did a lot of research beforehand to prepare for the trip. We were so knowledgeable that it was surreal when we finally got to the trailhead to start heading down. Even with all of our winter hiking conditioning, it was still quite a challenge and it brought me a lot of joy when we finally climbed out after spending two nights on the floor of the canyon in a tent. We took so many beautiful pictures—but there is nothing even close to seeing it in person.
Who has been your favorite television character of all time? I’m not sure who my favorite is… but in television, movies, or books, I tend to always root for the main character. I’m able to empathize well with people and you receive a lot of information about the main character over the course of a story. I see their challenges and missteps as part of their journey and can relate even when other characters are fed up with them.
What is the most memorable gift you have ever received? Why did it make such an impact? Growing up, gift giving always brought a lot of mixed feelings for me—the most memorable gifts now come from the way my husband and I give each other gifts. It’s never anything big. Mostly these gifts just show how well we know one another. A favorite candy or an item that connects to an inside joke or a shared interest is far more enjoyable to me than anything that others may deem memorable. Last year, I received this wedge of foam that you can stick between your car seat and console because I always seem to lose my phone in that bottomless chasm between the seat and the console.
What do you consider your greatest strength? What would your closest friend define as your greatest strength? I am very reliable. I like doing things for other people and following through on it. I show up on time to things, I do what needs to be done, and I enjoy planning. I get very disappointed when something falls through the cracks or if I’m unable to meet a friend or family member’s expectations. I’m the logistics person in my household, always doing research and planning to make sure we have fun things to do together.
What is your fondest memory of your own high school experience? That’s a hard one! Probably the experience I value most was spending three weeks studying Creative Writing at the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. Students representing multiple disciplines from all around the state came for an immersive, intensive art experience. We stayed on a college campus, got to experience a little bit of the freedom of college, and we were able to explore the things we truly loved. Two other young women from my school were chosen to attend that year, so it was great to have both the new experiences and be able to keep a little bit of home there too.
Who was your favorite teacher in the high school that you attended and why? My favorite teacher was Ms. Hackmiller, my Chorus teacher. I spent four years in class with her along with every extra-curricular music group and theatre production. I valued her expertise and her desire to cultivate gifts in her students. She knew what was important to her in life and she inspired all of us to do the same.
What is your greatest wish for your son? That he will find things in life that bring him joy and that will help him through difficult moments in his life.
If you could choose just one word to reflect that which you feel is most important in life, what word would you choose? Belonging.
We have no doubt that Ms. Graham will find a great sense of belonging here at St. Thomas Aquinas. We are truly blessed to have her joining us as another outstanding member of our STA Faculty and look forward to supporting her in all ways as a valued and cherished member of our home. Saints Pride!