Student Spotlight: Sarah Weglarz
Sarah Weglarz, a junior at Westfield High School, has found a special way to honor her late sister Cate.
Weglarz co-founded a club, Care like Cate, that promotes the kind of positive influence Cate had on other people.
“Care Like Cate is a club that my cousin Allie and I co-founded at Westfield High School in the spring of 2019 to be a positive influence in our community, as well as to provide support for Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital and other organizations benefiting children and adoption,” Weglarz says. “After Cate’s death I knew I wanted to move forward in a way that would honor her. Not only did we want to create something that would honor Cate’s life, but we wanted to inspire others and show that it is still possible to find joy in difficult situations.”
Weglarz has positive thoughts about Cate, who was her younger sister, to help her through difficult times.
“When she passed she was five years old, and a kindergarten student at Saint Maria Goretti Catholic School,” Weglarz explains. “She had the most joyful spirit and was so loving. Cate also had a bit of a silly side once you got to know her. She told the best knock-knock jokes, and always knew how to make our family laugh. She loved to spend time with our dog Lenny. Swinging on the play set in our backyard was her favorite thing to do. Cate was so loved by our entire family.”
Weglarz’s memories of Cate are filled with the fun times they spent together.
“One of my favorite memories of our time together was over the last year, during the winter break,” Weglarz says. “I had gotten a puzzle for Christmas, and Cate and I brought it up to my room. We would work on it a little each day. It’s a memory I will always cherish.”
Weglarz says Cate died suddenly, and became sick a few days before she passed.
“Her symptoms seemed to resemble a stomach flu, so her illness did not seem that serious,” she says. “The morning of January 20, 2019, Cate was very tired and did not seem to be improving, even though she had been up and alert the previous day. So, my family and I took her to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital emergency room, where she passed away within a couple hours of us being there. The cause of her death was never definitively determined, but the doctors felt that it was most likely a virus of unknown origin.”
Weglarz says the original purpose of the Care Like Cate club was to create a good-news segment in the video announcements at Westfield High School.
“This year, however, we decided to shift our focus towards service projects,” Weglarz says. “Throughout November and December, we collected toys for Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital Child Life Services.”
Care Like Cate t-shirts have also been popular.
“Both this year and last, we held a t-shirt fundraiser to benefit Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital,” Weglarz says. “This year the shirts were yellow and pink, and had the club logo on the back and ‘Kindness/Negativity’ on the front. The logo, a heart inside a sunshine, was designed by a club member, Maya Francisco. The saying, “Kindness over negativity” was designed by club member Alex Coulombe, and supports the idea that kindness can prevail in any situation.”
Weglarz’s favorite subjects in school are science and English.
“I am currently in the third year of a four-year medical science program created by Project Lead the Way (PLTW),” Weglarz says. “These classes – Principles of Biomedical Sciences, Human Body Systems and Medical Interventions – have been my favorites. For English, I’m taking AP Seminar and AP Language and Composition.”
Weglarz also plays volleyball, is involved with the Westfield High School Dance Marathon, serves in the school’s peer Spanish tutoring program, and is preparing for freshman mentoring for next year. She has already started making plans for college.
“I am thinking about majoring in biology, or something science related,” Weglarz says. “I am also thinking about going to medical school and working with children. I am looking into Saint Louis University, Washington University in Saint Louis, Indiana University and University of Cincinnati.”
Weglarz is proud of the sense of community that she says pervades Westfield.
“I have always felt supported by my teachers, coaches, teammates and friends,” she says. “For example, one of my science teachers, Miss Chelsea Stephens, who is our club sponsor, and several of our friends who are club leaders, were so supportive in helping to organize the club and getting it started. My mentoring teachers, Coach Jacob Gilbert and Mrs. Sarah Gibbs, have also been very supportive.”
Weglarz says Allie has been constantly supportive throughout the past year.
“Allie was also very close to Cate, and understands everything that our family went through,” she says. “Allie is very kind and a great listener. I couldn’t have done this without her.”