By Georgia Kaufman
In her 18th year of teaching at Los Gatos High School, Ms. Cathy Messenger is beloved by all of her students, the LGHS administration, and the Los Gatos community. Teaching both Advanced Science Research (ASR) and AP Biology this year, Messenger keeps a busy school schedule teaching topics she feels very passionate about.
After first attending San Jose State University, Messenger transferred to UC Davis to graduate with a major in Biochemistry and a minor in Environmental Toxicology. She noted that she originally “was going to major in Biology, but [her] Chemistry professor said [she] should major in Biochemistry.” Her varied college education allows Messenger to teach a variety of science courses at LGHS. Before teaching at Los Gatos, Messenger worked for ten years as a Biochemist in Medical Diagnostics. She noted that she “developed tests for Thyroid function and drugs of abuse.”
Messenger originally taught sophomore biology at Los Gatos. Then, she taught chemistry in the community, sometimes referred to as “chem com,” and other chemistry classes for over 14 years before taking over as the AP Biology teacher when past LGHS teacher Steve Hammock retired. Now, Messenger leads the ASR class that fosters a versatile group of students — sophomores, juniors, and seniors — who specialize in different aspects of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) research. She also leads a fantastic MOSAIC class, ensuring that she has a respectable and close-knit relationship with all of her students in the monthly class, regardless of whether she has them in one of her ASR or AP Biology classes or not.
When asked what her favorite thing about teaching was, Messenger replied, “The kids. I enjoy being with the students. My second favorite thing about teaching is the subject because I have a lot of passion for science and the research behind it.” Later, while clarifying what her favorite part about teaching at Los Gatos was, she shouted out her peers: “The community and support we get from all the teachers and [administrators].”
After taking the annual trip to Catalina Island in Southern California with the AP Biology and AP Environmental Science classes at LGHS for the first time in over two years, Messenger talked about her experiences with the juniors and seniors whom she chaperoned. She exclaimed, “It was phenomenal. We had a beautiful sunrise. We were a little nervous to restart the trip after the pandemic, but everything went smoothly and we had a wonderful time.”
Outside of teaching, Messenger loves to hike and read. She notes that she and her husband “are trying to go to every National Park and [they] are getting really close.” Be sure to enroll in AP Bio or ASR in order to have Mrs. Messenger as a teacher, or feel free to stop by her classroom to have a conversation about all things science and interpersonal joys; it’s ensured that you will leave feeling fulfilled and ready to take on the rest of the day.