Katherine Rangoussis, a member of the class of 2017 at St. John’s College High School in Washington, will attend Georgetown University this fall, where she plans to major in biology.
CS PHOTO BY JACLYN LIPPELMANN Katherine Rangoussis, a member of the class of 2017 at St. John’s College High School in Washington, will attend Georgetown University this fall, where she plans to major in biology.

As a member of the class of 2017 at St. John’s College High School in Washington, Katherine Rangoussis is continuing a family tradition. Her father Frank Rangoussis graduated from St. John’s in 1986. Her younger sister Annette, now a sophomore there, is a member of the school’s class of 2019, and their sister Nicole, who is graduating from Little Flower School in Bethesda this year, will be a member of St. John’s class of 2021.

Katherine Rangoussis said her parents never pressured her to go to St. John’s. “I always felt like this was the place that felt the most like home and would welcome me,” she said. “It’s just been cool to go to the school my father went to. It’s neat to have the same traditions and walk the same halls.”

St. John’s College High School, which is sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, was founded in 1851. “There’s definitely a history to the school which I appreciate,” the St. John’s senior said.

This fall, Rangoussis will attend Georgetown University, where she will major in biology and work toward her dream of becoming a medical doctor some day.

“I really love math and science, and I want my career to help people in a way that will impact their lives,” she said.

She noted that she wanted to go to Georgetown from the time she was a second grader. “I really liked the Catholic identity, the community feel and the academics,” she said of the university, which like St. John’s has a long history in the nation’s capital. Georgetown University was founded in 1789 as the first Catholic college in the new United States.

At St. John’s, Rangoussis was a De La Salle Scholar, participating in a challenging academic program offered to the school’s highest achieving students. She said her favorite classes at St. John’s included AP chemistry and calculus, and honors British literature, American literature and pre-calculus. The school’s extensive use of technology in the classroom, and the iPads that are provided to each student there, helped give her tools to succeed, she said.

“I had teachers who shaped my life,” she said, adding that she was blessed to have dedicated and knowledgeable teachers who were available to help students before school, during lunch hours and after school. “That’s really helped me succeed. They really put their students first,” she added.

The St. John’s senior also praised her school’s community spirit. “The student body is really all about helping each other,” Rangoussis said. “Everyone is friendly. I’ve learned a lot from my peers. That’s helped me grow spiritually and academically.”

Rangoussis, a member of the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda and a graduate of that parish’s elementary school, said her Catholic faith is a big part of her life, and she credited the example of her family and said her Catholic education has deepened her faith.

“I’ve definitely learned God has a really great place in my life. It’s helped me see His actions and His path for me,” she said.

During her years at St. John’s, she volunteered as a peer minister, and helped set up for school Masses, and assisted at retreats and with freshman orientation. Participating in cross country, and getting used to the rigors of that sport, also helped her grow in her faith, she said, smiling. “It was so difficult, I needed God’s help to get through.” She added, “Cross country has become like a family to me – I’ve met so many friends through it.”

The St. John’s senior said her faith has also been shaped by the experiences of her mother Diana Rangoussis, and by her maternal grandparents, Ignacio and Maria Riveira, who immigrated from Cuba to Spain and then the United States when her mom was a young girl. “When you go through tough times like they did in leaving Cuba, you need faith to get you through, and that’s been translated into my life,” she said, noting that through hard work and strengthened by their faith, they found success in their new country.

For her senior scholars’ service project at St. John’s, she honored her Cuban heritage by raising money for Santa Ana and San Joaquin Parish in Holguin, Cuba, in a diocese led by a longtime family friend, Bishop Emilio Aranguren Echeverria. The Daughters of Charity of St. Anne provide outreach at the parish.

Rangoussis raised money for the Cuban parish through direct solicitations and by having bake sales of cookies, brownies and cupcakes outside St. John’s theater productions. The money she raised will go toward the parish’s food distribution, and its daycare, tutoring and religious education classes for children.

“I chose it because I felt like I wanted to make a difference in the world,” she said, expressing the same motivation that drives her desire to study to become a doctor someday.