The sisterhood of the traveling Szes

Michelle Chong, Features Editor

In a school with over a thousand pupils in attendance, one can get lost in a sea of swarming students, racing out of class to get to the next destination. The size of the student population can even confuse teachers when it comes to who is who. First days of the year are spent dedicating time, trying to match name to a face. Those days of the year can also be a déjà vu to students as well, especially those with siblings that have gone before them. In one such case, there is a trio of sisters, the youngest currently a senior.

But her name is not Catherine. It is not Elizabeth either.

It is Christina.

As the youngest, senior Christina Sze has been mistaken for her older sisters over the past years—which included first names being mixed up by teachers who had taught her two elder sisters: Catherine (Cathy) and Elizabeth Sze.

“I get confused with my sister all the time,” Christina said. “I remember in ninth grade when I ran for class officer and won the historian position, Mr. Calfee, who just the following year had Cathy in his graduating senior class, announced ‘congratulations to Cathy Sze who is this year’s ninth grade class historian’….when he was supposed to say my name, not Cathy’s.”

Cathy and Elizabeth are graduates from the class of 2008 and 2006 respectively. Cathy is currently studying at the University of Texas in Austin as a journalism major, focusing specifically in magazine.

While still in high school, Cathy was part of the newspaper and yearbook staff, both of which nurtured her interest in the creative aspect of publications; this ended up influencing her choice in choosing a major for college. Currently, Cathy also writes on her own food blog as it incorporates food and writing— two of her hobbies all in one.

“I really love cooking so by writing reviews about restaurants I got to combine my two passions—writing and food,” Cathy said. “The fun and experience I had working for both these publications led me to pursue this in college.”

This passion for writing also led her to apply for an internship for incoming college seniors through the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). The internship program would then pair the candidate with a magazine that participates in the program.

Through ASME, Cathy got assigned to be an intern for the Reader’s Digest. As an intern, Cathy mostly did fact checking and wrote a few articles for the online version.

“It was not until I got to the orientation program [on] the first day of the internship that I realized how competitive and application process was,” Cathy said. “I was one of about 28 interns who were accepted, and apparently the acceptance rate was a slim ten percent. That was pretty exciting. Each week, ASME held a luncheon at a different magazine in the city for us so we could meet the editors at a lot of different publications. I met the editors at Real Simple, The New Yorker, Martha Stewart Living, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping…the list goes on.”

Elizabeth, the oldest sister, is a graduate of Columbia University with a degree in economics. Currently, she lives in New York City and is working for Univision Interactive Media in digital sales. However, she plans to go back to school and pursue a career as a nurse.

“My first year I was pre-med, but I changed my mind after taking organic chemistry,” Elizabeth said. “I then was going to major in math but then decided on economics. I kind of just fell into that major because I had a lot of the requirements. If I were to do it again I would have majored in psychology because I really enjoy the subject matter. I am happy in some ways that I majored in economics, it definitely helped me get my job. I think it shows that a person has an analytical way of thinking, which can be valuable or attractive in the workplace.”

Being the very last in her family to attend high school, Christina stands at the crossroads: between choosing her sister’s alma maters or deciding to pave her own path.

“Catherine as well as my oldest sister Elizabeth, have both shown me the possibilities that exist for me in college or the different routes that I can take depending on my interests,” Christina said. “While Catherine went into a more social and creative major my oldest sister, Elizabeth, graduated with an economics major from Columbia.  It also helped that they familiarized me with the process of college applications beforehand and are willing to help me when I need them to read over one of my essays.”

She has her own aspirations too—aspirations that she would like to fulfill as soon as she leaves high school and graduates from college. As a soon-to-be freshman in college, Christina plans to apply for a double major in studio art and history. Her first choice is to attend either Bowdoin College or Washington University in St. Louis.

“As it goes, after I leave Cinco and graduate from college I want to join the Peace Corps,” Christina said. “I am very interested in learning about other cultures and [I] want to help other people. Another one of my goals is to receive recognition from the Society of Illustrators with my art someday in the future. I would also like to illustrate a children’s book. These are some of my aspirations, along with seeing the world [and] traveling it.”