Catalina Macedo Giang: Living Life on The Fast Train

Catalina Macedo Giang is a 12th Grader at Parkview High School in Lilburn Georgia. She is a bright student who is passionate and gifted in writing and public speaking. As a child, Catalina was shy and she hated speaking in front of people. “I would always turn red, and blush, all of those terrible things,” she says. After fifth grade she told herself she was going to practice and become great at public speaking. Over the years she has become great at speaking out. She is now not afraid to raise her hand and ask a question or share her thoughts, and it is one of the things she is most proud of about herself to this day.

In 11th grade she had a teacher  who mostly assigned presentations and debates. There was an assignment where they had to give a persuasive speech on a topic they felt strongly about.By the end of her speech, the goal was for her teacher and classmates to agree with her claims. Catalina wrote about why square pizzas are better than circular pizzas, and when she gave the speech she had a great intuitive feeling about it. She knew she would do great. Doing the project solidified her thoughts on her future possibly including public speaking. 

A couple months after the speech she shared, she was in a one on one debate with a girl in front of her class about a conflicting opinion: 

“I was speaking and I was pretty sure where I was going. All of the sudden I just froze up. I didn’t know what had happened but I just stopped talking and I started stuttering. I felt this heat come over me and my voice just died down. I remember coming home and feeling so bad and humiliated. I remember thinking I haven’t grown at all.

Catalina realized even though she was a great public speaker she could not prepare for life like she could prepare for a speech. “It’s not like everyday you have a half an hour to prepare.”

Catalina’s gift for public speaking allows her to share about her passions and inform others about them. She has a strong passion for Public transit. She wants people to realize how important public transit is. Her goal is to influence others to become involved in the process and see the good things that can come from it. If she could combine her passion with her talent she would advocate for public transit development — not only to government officials and leaders, but to the people. She wants to get ordinary citizens to think about public transit and the advantages.  She believes that public transit can be something people would want if they just listened and learned. 

Catalina began to see people advocating for public transit when they were trying to expand MARTA into Metro Atlanta in 2019. At first she didn’t care much about the topic until she found out it didn’t pass. She was surprised to see that people didn’t support it, especially in Lilburn with the diversity in our community. Everyday after school she began to read about MARTA and read about public transit. Her dream is to have a national railroad. “If that could happen in my lifetime I would be so happy.” 

Catalina joined the newspaper staff  in hopes of growing in public speaking and to spread awareness about public transit and why it’s so important. She plans to involve herself with public speaking and public transit in the future.