Mater Dei Senior Claudia Duncan Shines as February’s Youth of the Month

By Erin Meyer

One week at a time—that’s how Mater Dei High School senior and February’s Youth of the Month, Claudia Duncan, manages the many sports events, club meetings and service commitments on her calendar.

“You just see her at everything,” said Mater Dei School Counselor Shea Reneer.

Claudia is president of Mater Dei’s National Honor Society, senior class treasurer, vice president of the Spanish Club and is a varsity cheerleader and member of the track team. She serves as a Eucharistic minister at St. Joseph Catholic Church (county), is part of Pep Club, Service Club, Peer Mediation Club, Fresh Beginnings (which promotes drug-free choices) and the Mater
Dei-ville Police Department.

She’s also a 10-year member of 4-H and was named “Miss Congeniality” at the 2017 Vanderburgh County Fair.

Claudia does it all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

“If a big project is coming up or there’s something I need to prepare for, I make sure to break it into small tasks to make it easier on myself. If I know I have a busy day after school, I’ll finish my homework the day before. I practice a lot of time management skills,” Duncan said.

Though she spends many hours supporting her school (even serving as the mascot at pep rallies), Claudia also values the impact she can make beyond Mater Dei through Youth Resources’ programs. She enjoys participating in TEENPOWER, Teen Advisory Council and Vanderburgh County Teen Court.

“YR has impacted me in so many ways. It has taught me the importance of becoming involved in the community and of volunteering. I have learned so much about servant leadership, and YR has shaped me into the leader I am today,” said Duncan. “On top of it all, YR has allowed me to meet so many people, both friends and adult mentors, that I consider my second family. YR has completely changed my life for the better.”

“She has very much of a servant’s heart, and kids see that in her,” said Reneer. “They definitely see her as someone that can help them, that can guide them, that they can trust. She’s just an amazing, amazing lady. We’re proud that she represents us. ”

Claudia was nominated for Youth of the Month honors by her grandmother, Diane Angermeier, who says she’s impressed by the way her granddaughter handles herself.

“She’s very, very self-assured. Nothing ever kept her from investigating, learning, trying,” Angermeier said.

Mater Dei President Dr. Timothy Dickel witnessed that self-assurance last fall. After a Tomorrow’s Work Force luncheon, he watched Claudia walk up to keynote speaker and former governor of Indiana (now president of Purdue University) Mitch Daniels and introduce herself.

“To be honest, I didn’t focus on the last part of his speech because I was repeating what I was going to say to him over and over in my head,” Duncan explained. “Even though I was nervous, I still wanted to break out of my comfort zone and introduce myself to him.”

That initiative paid off. Daniels gave Claudia his business card, and the two have since exchanged emails.

Though she hasn’t decided yet which college she’ll attend, Claudia plans to study actuarial science.

As February’s Youth of the Month, Claudia is now a finalist for Youth Resources’ Youth of the Year award, presented annually at YR’s Hall of Fame Celebration.

To nominate a student (ages 5-18) for Youth of the Month, click here.

Erin Meyer is the Development Director at Youth Resources and a YR alumna.