Klein ISD graduate, effects change through journalism, poetry, founding organizations

Journalist, founder and community volunteer are just a few of Katrina Machetta’s growing titles.

The award-winning poet has spoken at Houston City Hall, at museums and at Astros games.

She has helped launch nonprofits and service organizations that give voice to others and bridge gender and generational gaps.

Her journalism appeared in several publications, including the newspaper she ran as editor.

And the 17-year-old is just getting started.

With a view to a career in broadcast journalism, the recent graduate summa cum laude is going to the University of Pennsylvania this fall to double her studies in business and communications.

Looking back on her busy high school schedule, the former Klein Collins student admits it was a balancing act. However, the trick to getting the most out of high school isn’t complicated. His advice to his peers: seize the opportunity.

“Play an active role every day in every class you take and in every club you do,” she said. “Nothing is too small. Everything will make a difference in your life, and you have to be able to step out of your comfort zone and go out there and find opportunities.

Change the world

Machetta’s love for writing began at a young age.

She carried that passion with her throughout high school as president of the Klein Collins Creative Writing Club, poet-in-residence for the Heritage Society, senior reporter for Youth Journalism International, and editor of her school newspaper, Legacy Press. .

“I believe stories go beyond information,” Machetta said. “They have the power to shape people’s lives, stimulate social thought and change our world for the better.”

Machetta was inspired by a report she saw years ago on Good Morning America. Several people have been victims of an insurance scam. The story got national attention and got people their money back.

“It showed me that one report can change so many lives,” she said. “So every article I do and every photo I take is more than just reporting; it changes people’s lives and I knew I wanted to do it for the rest of my life,” she said.

Today, as co-founder of the online magazine Auteur, Machetta helps other journalists and artists make a difference through their work.

Author Magazine was launched during the pandemic as a place for students to share writing, photography, and art related to issues affecting their communities.

“I oversee chapters in more than 10 countries. … Through this outlet, I want to give them a safe place where they feel loved and respected to write about whatever they want,” she said.

Fill gaps

Author was not Machetta’s first experience with starting an organization.

Witnessing the widespread devastation of Hurricane Harvey, Machetta felt compelled to help bring a sense of hope and camaraderie back to the community.

As a result, she founded Crafting Connections.

“It’s a service organization where I’ve partnered with five school districts, more than 10 schools, and more than 25 assisted living facilities,” Machetta said. “I bring young people to these different assisted living facilities and retirement homes for different poetry workshops and poetry seminars.”

During weekly visits, the group also enjoys activities such as bingo, dancing and story-sharing. The organization’s mission blends many of Machetta’s passions.

“Not only did I want to bring hope and love back to the community and bridge the generational and age gap between young and old in our community, but I also wanted to combine my passion for writing and journalism because I know that poetry can be a transcendent power of healing and expression, and so I wanted to use it as an outlet to bring people together as well,” she said.

Machetta plans to expand the organization to Philadelphia by continuing its efforts at the university.

Her work through Crafting Connections was one of the reasons Machetta was named the winner of the Yale Bassett Award. She was one of 20 people across the country to receive the prestigious award.

His role as Poet-in-Residence for the Heritage Society also contributed to his selection as a recipient.

As Poet-in-Residence, Machetta has recited poetry at several cultural and civic events, including the U.S. premiere of the Nelson Mandela exhibit at the Holocaust Museum and the June 19 commemoration at Emancipation Park.

“To be able to speak to so many people, and through the transcendent power of poetry, to help them through whatever they need, and to be able to educate and inform them about issues of social justice, and to be able to give them a voice – I think it’s so important…and poetry is one of the many outlets where people can use this platform to have their voices heard,” she said.

Machetta also works to expand opportunities for underrepresented groups through Miss STEM International — a nonprofit she co-founded with her sister Irissa, who is a rising junior at Harvard University.

“Research has shown that marginalized groups and women are less able to access STEM fields and are consistently underrepresented in STEM careers,” Machetta said.

The organization provides resources to support the pursuit of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

“Through Miss STEM International, we create different STEM panels, offer different mentoring opportunities and research opportunities. We go to different churches and different research fairs across the country where we can bring women and people from different underrepresented groups to give them the experience and community they need to excel in STEM fields,” Machetta said.

Find a community

His efforts throughout high school earned him many accolades.

However, Machetta said one of her greatest accomplishments isn’t on a resume: her relationship with her family. The loss of loved ones during the pandemic has taught her the value of time spent with family and friends.

“You have to understand the preciousness of every second of every day,” she said.

Another piece of advice Machetta gives to his fellow students is that it’s okay not to decide on a career path. What is important is to “find your community”.

From the first day she entered Benignus Elementary School until her last day at Klein Collins, Machetta said she found support from educators at Klein ISD who were not only teachers, but also mentors and friends.

“Find the people who will support you no matter what and find a teacher who will always be there for you – who can write letters of recommendation, but who can also be there for you 10 years from now,” she said. . said.

The Class of 2022 has faced several challenges during their K-12 career — from Hurricane Harvey to COVID-19. But Machetta sees challenges as opportunities for growth and sees her faith as an anchor through hardship.

“I embroidered Jeremiah 29:11 on my letter jacket to always remind me that no matter what challenge comes my way, I will always have a great future ahead of me.”

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