Jessica Burnett is currently a senior here at West Catholic Preparatory High School. Her favorite subjects are math and science, mainly due to the challenge those subjects offer her. “I’ve always had a strong passion for science, ever since grade school” she added. That passion led Jessica to be nominated by West Catholic Prep for the Youth Leadership Forum: Medicine at the University of Maryland. The nine day program gave Jessica hands-on experience in clinical workshops focused on the tools and techniques practiced by medical professionals. She was exposed to clinical workshops, learning how to properly take blood pressure, also learning how to conduct a neurological exam.
Jessica is grateful to the experience she had last summer. She feels more prepared and confident that she will be a great Dr. someday. “It made me look into the medical fields differently. I feel confident and passionate that this is where I belong. I came back to West Catholic different. I am more motivated to succeed.”
Jessica is a cheerleader and runs track here at West Catholic Prep. When asked her favorite things about West Catholic Prep Jessica responded “I love the school spirit here. You can tell students here are proud to be at a school like West Catholic. I like how our teachers push us to be resilient and overcome adversity.”
As far as Jessica’s plan upon graduation, Jessica says “I want to be an orthopedic doctor specializing in sports medicine. The science classes are very strong here at West Catholic Prep and have helped me build a strong foundation. I know that when I go to college I will be prepared to study medicine” she added.
Congratulations to Jessica on all her accomplishments, and we look forward to seeing many more in the future!
Ms. McCalla serves as the Theology Department Chair at West Catholic Preparatory High School. Ms. McCalla is in her third-year teaching at West Catholic. When asked her favorite thing about being a teacher Ms. McCalla responded, “Witnessing students share their hopes and dreams and watching their growth during their time here.” Ms. McCalla holds a master’s degree in Theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and is currently in a Doctoral program at La Salle University.
Prior to teaching Ms. McCalla came from a business background having worked in Human Resources. Upon her transition from the corporate world, Ms. McCalla initially considered enrolling in law school, but she was drawn into teaching Theology here at West Catholic. “The opportunity presented itself to teach at West Catholic and interact with young people whose lives were very similar to mine growing up in North Philadelphia.”
When asked to describe West Catholic Prep, Ms. McCalla, “West Catholic is a treasure that offers the opportunity for young people to achieve an education that can unlock the keys to a life of great value and untold personal satisfaction and success.”
When Ms. McCalla was asked how she hopes her students remember her “I would like students to remember me as a role model and to remember my Theology class as a place to know and appreciate the history and contributions of the Catholic Church, especially black Catholics in the United States. Moreover, I would hope students take away a message that whether Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Muslim or no religion that God is God and that no matter our faith tradition, we are all God’s people to be valued and respected,” she added.