Life of a Brave: 21 Questions with New Learning Specialist and Counselor, Mrs. Cathy Roohan

by Noah Dawson

St. John Bosco High School welcomes Mrs. Cathy Roohan, a former Bosco parent, to the counseling staff as a Learning Specialist and STEP Counselor, working to serve all students with their academic needs.

Photo By Christian Angel, Managing Editor

Q. Where did you grow up?

A. As an immigrant family, I moved to where my father’s job took us. After we arrived in the United States, we lived in Eagle Rock and Koreatown. I also lived in Costa Mesa, Garden Grove and Huntington Beach. When people ask where I am from, I say Huntington Beach because I spent my high school years in HB, and it is the city where I spent the most years growing up as a teenager.

Q. What school did you attend for high school?

A. For high school, I attended a very small religious-based school, Liberty Christian School, in Huntington Beach. This is significant because it formed the foundation for my spirituality and Catholic-Christian worldview. 

Q. What school did you attend for university?

A. I attended Boston College, just outside of Boston, Massachusetts for my undergraduate years. At this Jesuit college, I re-discovered my Catholic-Christian identity, which reshaped or redefined my worldview.

Q. What was your major/minor in college?

A. Philosophy and History double major. Many of my classes were in my pursuit of understanding my Korean/Asian American history, culture and identity. I was also interested in world religions in my pursuit to better understand my Catholic-Christian faith.  I received my Master’s of Arts at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles in Special Education. 

Q. Do you have any pets?

A. I have had a series of cats and dogs over my youth and adulthood. Our last family dog, MacDougal, passed away in 2021. He was very special to my family… a big loss.

Q. What do you like to do as a hobby?

A. I love to eat yummy food and cook! I spend a lot of my free time volunteering at my children’s clubs and organizations.

Q. What’s your outside interest?

A. Hiking and walking. 

Q. Do you like or play any sports?

A. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I picked up jogging. I have completed a few half marathons and a 10K in the past few years. Also, I do 5Ks regularly for fundraisers or just to get out there.

Q. What is your role at Bosco?

A. At Bosco, I am the Learning Specialist and Counselor. I coordinate the STEP program for students.

Q. What made you decide to come to work at Bosco?

A. I came to work at Bosco through Mr. Salmingo, but I first learned about Bosco through my son, who graduated a few years back, Class of 2020.

Q. What specifically drew you to Bosco?

A. The best part of Bosco is that everyone is excited about their roles and people are fun and nice to work with. As a volunteer, I found that the staff and faculty were welcoming and grateful to the parents who volunteered. As a parent, over the years, I got involved in more activities because there was such a positive energy here. When considering working at Bosco, the positive, grateful and fun energy attributed to my wanting to accept the job!

Q. Where did you first become inspired to get into counseling?

A. I became interested in counseling in recent years because, in my previous job, I noticed that I effectively guided parents and students along their school and parenting journey. 

Q. How are you acclimating to the all-boy environment?

A. Slowly but surely. This would be the newest aspect of my job here. 

Q. Which event are you most excited about here at Bosco?

A. As I mentioned, I love community events or events where I can share my enthusiasm for SJB with others. I look forward to Open House, too. 

Q. How has your time been at Bosco so far?

A. So far, I have been busy trying to learn and assimilate new information. Busy, but fun! I love meeting with students one-on-one to talk about how they feel about their learning and to offer different learning strategies, tricks or perspectives. 

Q. What are your most exciting experiences this school year?

A. I enjoy the community activities; the latest one was Spirit Week for Homecoming. I dressed up for Twin Day and Adam Sandler Day and had a lot of fun! I also loved going to a high school fair representing SJB.

Q. What’s your favorite memory so far at Bosco?

A. I have many favorite memories as a parent: Mother-Son Mass & Brunch, Margherita’s Guild hospitality events–Salesian Dinner, baking pumpkin loaves for the staff and faculty, the football [CIF] championship game in 2019. I have fond memories of organizing the Lunar New Year Celebration. Lastly, I loved the Dia de Los Muertos celebration!

Q. Do you have any advice for any students that wish to become counselors?

A. To have empathy but to develop self-preservation techniques.

Q. What are your favorite types of food?

A.  I love Indian, Italian, Vietnamese, Thai, Hawaiian, Sushi and, of course, Korean BBQ (Kalbi). I love fresh baked pastries and bread, fruit, boba, coffee and tea.

Q. What’s your favorite type of music to listen to?

A. It is difficult to use music category names as it has different meanings throughout time! I feel nostalgic and giggle when I hear 80s music and see its popularity with young people these days. These are a few of my favorite vocal artists or bands: Adele, Elton John, Sarah Brightman, Queen, Eurythmics, Sting, The Beatles, Blonde and Coldplay. And I enjoy Saturday Night Live.  

Q. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

A.  I would love to go back to Korea to see my relatives. My family and I were planning to go to Korea in Summer 2020, as a graduation celebration for my son. But with the pandemic, those plans got deferred. Secondly, I would love to return to Peru, as I was an exchange student there as a high school student and haven’t had the opportunity to return.

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