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7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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West Catholic High School
1801 Bristol Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

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Ella Bernreuter does it all at WC

by | Jan 8, 2024 | Alumni, Parents, Staff, Students

With a robust fine arts program, dynamic sports opportunities, and an enormous variety of clubs and organizations, West Catholic is proud to offer something for everyone. While there may be “something for everyone,” a handful of students also prove there’s “someone for everything”— or so it would seem! Senior Ella Bernreuter is one such student: a young lady with a wide spectrum of interests and activities.

You may recognize Ella as the girl who, in one moment, elegantly donned the crown of Homecoming Queen despite the pouring rain, and the next moment was conducting the marching band as drum major. She can also be found on the volleyball court; her dedication along with that of her teammates took them to the state finals this year. In the fall, Ella enjoyed serving as an All A’s captain this year to help West’s efforts to secure funding for tuition assistance. She’s an eager learner thirsting to know more and experience what she can of the world, thus she finds herself appreciating her high school academics, even taking AP courses and making the honor roll. Impressively, she still manages to find some downtime to pursue interests like crocheting, botany and rereading her personally annotated copy of Little Women. 

High school has afforded Ella myriads of opportunities both in and out of the classroom, but according to her, they pale in comparison to the meaningful friendships she has made at West. When asked how it is that Ella can thrive amid the busyness of her eclectic activities, she credits the support of her friends as well as her parents. “They’re my biggest cheerleaders,” she smiles. “And we have a shared family calendar, which helps.” Her community of support together with her faith is what drives her. “My faith is what keeps me going through stressful seasons, especially when I was so busy with volleyball. I just have to pray about it, give it to God.” She is grateful for her friends who also encourage her in the faith and for a school environment that nurtures that aspect of who she is. Because she lives in Lowell, Ella often uses her commute time to ground herself in prayer and to learn more about the faith from podcasts, such as her favorite, Fr. Mike Schmitz’s “Bible in a Year.”

While high school has been marked by many memorable moments, Ella says she will never forget one particular experience that she describes as “life-changing.” Along with other West Catholic students and parents, she seized the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to Italy over the summer. An avid lover of the arts, Ella found this trip to be a glorious intersection of faith and beauty. The standout moment was visiting St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The pilgrimage was fuel for her dream to pursue postsecondary studies in architecture and design, perhaps at Michigan State University. “I want to design beautiful buildings that make people cry!” she exclaims. “In a good way.”

When reflecting on who has been a positive influence during her high school career, she said, “Mrs. Hathaway has been a great teacher and person. She is always open, warm and welcoming. Definitely a role model.” Of course, Ella’s interests don’t define her, yet these passions point to how she hopes to live, much like Mrs. Hathaway—with creativity and an openness to people and experiences. We are excited to see how Falcons like Ella will go on to impact the community and world!