Story by Elizabeth Schoof, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy Elizabeth Schoof
Say hello to Klarie Ojenus! She’s a junior, a dog lover and one of the most motivated individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting. You’ve probably seen Klarie at some point or another on campus, but if you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her officially, feel free to introduce yourself. She loves to meet new people!
Klarie is currently studying elementary education. Although she’s experimented with other majors, such as psychology, everything has brought her back to the idea of being a teacher. She believes that this is partly because her mom is a teacher, and also because of the impact teachers have had on her life.
“I’ve had a lot of great teachers in my life. Even if they were tough in the classroom, they worked hard to build good relationships with their students. I want to build a bond with kids like the ones my teachers built with me,” Klarie said.
One look at Klarie’s list of extracurriculars makes it clear that she enjoys connecting with a wide variety of people. Klarie is the President of the education club, vice president for the Habitat for Humanity group, an Orientation Leader, a volunteer for CYBIAC and a member of Aquinas’s cheerleading team. She is also a mentor for the Excel Program (which is a part of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion), and is assistant to Terry Marshall in the Campus Ministry Office.
Although her extracurriculars keep her busy, she uses her down time to attend events on-campus and spend time with her friends. One of her favorite events is praise and worship. She couldn’t stop smiling as she talked about her experience.
“Abandon Praise and Worship here at AQ is absolutely amazing. After a super busy day it was really great to be able to give myself up to God and thank him.” She loves to be at Bukowski because it helps her feel closer to God.
Participating in on-campus events has helped Klarie get to know a lot of people and get involved, two primary aspects of why she chose Aquinas. She chose Aquinas over other schools because she fell in love with the community.
“Every time I round the corner, I’m greeted with a smile. Even on the days that I’m really struggling, things are better because people are friendly. It’s crazy how many people know one another and it’s helped to build such a positive community. I’m thankful to be a part of it.”
Klarie reflected fondly upon her previous experiences at Aquinas. Last year, she was the point person for the Faith House LLC here on campus, and her experiences with the NOLA service learning group changed her life.
“The girls in the faith house have inspired me to be be better and NOLA gave me a new family. Both experiences have helped me grow in my faith more than anything else. They’ve found space in my heart and allowed me to really make a difference in the lives of other people. It’s the people that have made AQ memorable for me, not the memories that have made me happy. The people are who have gotten me where I am today.”
If you see Klarie floating around campus, don’t be afraid to stop and say hello. I guarantee after a fifteen minute conversation with her, you’ll have made another friend and have a smile on your face.