Four years ago, I made my first trip to Cuba with a friend of mine, Catherine Curtin, her parents and another Red Bank Catholic High School student and her mom. We went back the following year as well. I knew then how sharp and vitally interested in helping o
thers Catherine is. Well, actually, I know she inherits it from her parents, Tricia and Dan, who volunteer untold hours, efforts and money to keep the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Food Pantry running as great as it does. But seeing Catherine and her friend in Cuba, seeing how they interacted with teens they never met before, and whose language they could only speak with high school expertise, I knew she had something special. Catherine had designed GUEST, Girls Universal Empowerment Sports Tour, a goodwill ambassadorship program that uses sports to make a difference in third-world countries. Since she played volleyball, Catherine used that sport as a way to empower young girls on the premise if you can reach someone through sports you can impact them in other ways too. She selected Cuba for the program since it is largely poor as well as being a close neighbor so the commitment could be ongoing. Currently, while the Gamecock Junior maintains the relationships in Cuba she made on the two trips, the program is on hold until after college graduation. I’ll write about that trip to Cuba in another future travel blog, but suffice it to say, Catherine showed her premise works, and warm friendships were formed and kept because of her GUEST ideas. So now that she’s a junior at the University of South Carolina, it didn’t come as any surprise to me that she was just selected an Ambassador of the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management (HRSM) for her excellence in both her work and a personal interview for the position. HRSM ambassadors represent the College and assist with the planning and staffing of many college events including conferences, alumni, and recruiting. Recognized as star students, the ambassadors serve as brand champions for the college and share information to help other students and visitors learn more about all that HRSM has to offer. In announcing the college’s selection, Collin Crick, Director of Enrollment Management and Professional Development, wrote it was Curtin’s enthusiasm for her major, the College of HRSM, and the University of South Carolina itself that was recognized and appreciated. A graduate of Oak Hill Academy in Lincroft and Red Bank Catholic High School, Class of 2018, Catherine was on the National Honor Society, a Casey Ambassador at the high school and also co-captain of the varsity volleyball team. Curtin is also a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority.