Cathy’s Bio

Cathy has spent the last 21 years as a Noorthoek Academy student. She loves being a part of the GRCC community and being able to gain new knowledge every semester. Cathy has her own business making greeting cards and enjoys reading Christian magazines. She also volunteers at a local animal shelter where she is known as the “cat whisperer” and takes great care in socializing cats that are up for adoption. Her favorite food is Pizza Hut pizza and she is a fan of the Chicago Bears. Cathy’s warm and welcoming personality makes her a great friend to all. She is proud to be a Noorthoek Academy student and sister. Cathy was honored to receive her honorary degree from GRCC this year.

Cathy’s Poetry

Friends Committee

F- is for Friendly committee
R- is for Rooting the students on.
I- is for Intense fun.
E- is for Enjoyment on the Big Step Walk Fundraiser
N- is for Nice committee members
D- is for “I’m Delighted” to be on this awesome committee
S- is for Sharing ideas for the Celebration and Big Step Walk fundraiser

C- is for Compassion for our students.
O- is for happy Occasions for the Celebration and Big Step Walk fundraiser
M- is for Making a Celebration
M- is for Making activities fun for the Big Step Walk fundraiser
I- is for Intense planning
T- is for Talking about the plans for Celebration
T- is for Taking notes about what we plan to do for the Big Step Walk
E- is for Everyone cares for the students!
E- is for Education for all students, however they learn!

**I’m so glad that I’m on the Friends of Noorthoek Committee. I feel honored! It’s the best 5 years of my life! I’ve been a student at this awesome college for 21 years. I love it!

Hawaiian Vacation

Settling on the beach,
my shoes come off.
Bare feet wiggle and dig
through the gritty hot sand,
down into a dark cool softness.
The heat of the fading day
warms my skin.
I am relaxed and sleepy,
slathered in suntan lotion,
loving this much deserved vacation.
Just in time to catch the sunset.
Fire engine reds,
ripe oranges and
dark taxi cab yellows
move against the sky.
Appreciative of the beauty
that God has created.

Glad to Be Alive

I am glad to be alive.
I had a fire,
in my kitchen.
God protected me.

The sound of a voice
beside me
guiding me to
remember what I had learned.

I didn’t see anyone
next to me
but I know He was there
protecting me from heaven.

My precious cat, Chrissy
and I are safe,
in our cozy apartment.
I am glad to be alive.


Carrying On

Very caring of others and
helpful with problems
you may have.
Smiling, teaching,
zooming along.
More stress trying to teach
through the pandemic,
but with Sandy Barraza,
you’d never know
because it just doesn’t show.
She carries on
as though all is well,
and it is,
with my favorite hero.

This is the Life

I adopted Chrissy from the Humane Society,
where I volunteer.
When we saw each other,
it was love at first sight
for both of us!
Chrissy rubbed against my hand,
and purred loudly.
I said, "That's the cat I want to adopt,
she's the one!"

Chrissy follows me all around our apartment.
She is always laying on my lap,
purring contentedly!
If Chrissy could talk, she would say,
"Ahh this is the life.
I'm so happy living
with my Mom,
the cat whisperer!”

Don't Give Up

My mom is my favorite hero.
When I was born,
the doctor told my parents
"It would be best for everyone if you
put her into an institution".
I can just imagine my mom saying,
"That's my baby, she's not going
anywhere but home”!

Mom was always there for me,
teaching me.
It takes me a while to learn something new,
but, she never gave up on me,
and said,
"Don't give up on yourself.
You can do this!
It just takes more time for you."

Mom, I love you, and miss you!

The Humane Society

I volunteer at the Humane Society,
with the kittens and cats.
When they see me coming
it's like they’re thinking...
“Hey, here comes a lady that
loves cats”!

As I greet each one,
they rub against my face mask,
purring loudly,
laying on their side for a belly rub.
The staff there call me the cat whisperer.
They all need to be adopted
into forever loving homes.

Mahalia Jackson

Mahaila Jackson
grew up poor in the South.
She had a beautiful angelic voice,
singing gospel and the blues

Mahalia rose to fame
performing at rallies
during the civil rights movement,
and Carnegie Hall.

Mahalia became a very good friend
to the late, great,
Martin Luther King Jr.
A hero.

Quarantine Time

Covid -19.
Who would have imagined
a pandemic in 2020?

Closing the world up.
Seeing lots of angry people protesting
against our governor and
the stay at home law.

Our beloved college,
Noorthoek Academy closed down.
It has been a sad and depressing time for me.

Born to Blossom

“Institutionalize her,” advised the doctor.
My parents knew better, loved me,
gave me roots.
I blossom…
At school, in Special Ed,
the “normal” kids teased me.
It hurt but I knew they were wrong.
I blossom…
My parents separated and divorced.
I felt sad and afraid, but
the fighting was done.
I blossom…
I joined the Humane Society
volunteering with the cats.
The staff praise me, thank me
for my loving care, for my notes
on the cats’ behaviors.
I blossom…