Nicholas Gaubatz is a senior at Althoff Catholic High School. He is a member of Holy Trinity parish in Fairview Heights and is also a graduate of Holy Trinity’s grade school. Nicholas is very involved in his parish and began playing the piano and organ at weekend Masses his freshman year. Nicholas’ involvement in parish life goes beyond the walls of Holy Trinity. He has served as a substitute organist at several area parishes including St. Henry and St. Teresa in Belleville and St. Clare in O’Fallon. In August, Nicholas became the regular pianist and organist at St. Luke’s in Belleville where he plays every Sunday.
At Althoff Catholic, Nicholas also serves as pianist for school Masses. He is a current member of Liturgical Choir, Jazz Band, Math Team, Scholar Bowl, National Honor Society, Golf Team, Science Club, Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering, Theology Club and is a grade school math tutor.
Q: Nick, you sure are involved in a lot of activities! Which are your three favorites and why?
A: “Math Team, Scholar Bowl and Liturgical Choir for sure! I have been on Math team since freshman year and I was the captain this year. I’ve individually achieved first place seven times in the past two years. This activity is what made me realize that I love math and want to pursue it for the rest of my life. I am a Scholar Bowl captain this year and I have been on the team since freshman year. I really enjoy it because I am able to learn all sorts of new trivia and I am able to use my math, science, and music knowledge to help the team. In Liturgical Choir I get to use one of my most prominent and developed talents to provide music for everyone at Althoff.”
Q: What types of classes do you take at Althoff Catholic?
A: ”I am taking six college courses this semester, with a total of seven honors classes. The two most challenging classes for me are English and Film, which are both college classes. It feels like I’m always writing a paper for at least one of them! But, I have improved my writing skills and have definitely learned a lot about myself through all of these honors and college classes. I absolutely love mathematics, so choosing to double up on Statistics and Calculus was a no-brainer for me. I have these two classes back-to-back this semester, so some days I work with numbers for the majority of the afternoon. I particularly enjoy learning about how to model real-life problems in Calculus and probability in Statistics.”
Q: Looking back on your time at Althoff Catholic, what are your favorite things about the school?
A: “I wouldn’t have had the same experience or have developed into the person I am today if I hadn’t attended Althoff. Two aspects of Althoff that stand out to me are its size and the attitude of its teachers. First, Althoff is a smaller high school. As a result of this, I have gotten to personally know a good portion of the students. And even if I don’t know them personally, I still recognize the same faces in the halls. I’m never in a crowd of strangers at Althoff, and that is one thing that I really like about the school. Second, also tying in with the size of the school, is the attention that the teachers give to everyone. Every teacher that I’ve had over the years knows my name, and each one has been willing to help whenever I need it. I’ve built relationships with the teachers I’ve had for multiple years and classes.”
Q: How many Saint Louis University 1818 College Credits will you have upon graduation?
A: “I am happy to say I will leave Althoff Catholic with the maximum amount of credit hours, which is 32. These hours are in English, biology, calculus, statistics, theology and film.”
Q: Speaking of college… what are your plans?
A: “I plan to major in Mathematics and maybe Computer Science, with a possibility of throwing music in there somewhere. I don’t know exactly what I want to do with math yet, but I am definitely going to try to become a part of a research project wherever I go. I have applied to the University of Notre Dame,* I have been accepted into Murray State University, and I am currently applying to Saint Louis University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and Washington University.”
Q: Is there anything else about your time at Althoff Catholic that you would like us to know?
A:“One thing that stands out about Althoff lies in my experience on the Golf Team. I had never played golf in my life before high school, but it had been something I always wanted to try. At the beginning of my freshman year, I tried out for Althoff’s golf team. Having never played before, I wasn’t very good. But, that didn’t matter. My coach Dan Polites ensured that I was able to play on the team and improve my golf skills. I ended up playing all four years of high school. I was able to try something that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to try, and I am extremely grateful to both my coach and Althoff.”
*Since the original publication of this story, Nicholas has been accepted to the University of Notre Dame.