By: Margo Rawlings
Los Gatos High School sophomore Catarina Lechá van de Paverd is anything but ordinary. Born in Spain to a Dutch mother and Spanish father, Lechá van de Paverd experienced an atypical upbringing, attending a British boarding school for a period of time before moving to California.
First riding a horse at four years old, Lechá van de Paverd quickly found passion for the sport. She recalled adventures with her horse, Fiona, in Barcelona, describing, “I remember taking her on three-day trail rides, and she’d do amazing because she’s so smart. She just goes through trees and never spooks while we’re out on the trails.” Additionally, she mentioned, “The connection you make with your horse is really special. The community of equestrians is really big and I’ve made a lot of friends through it.” Unfortunately, when Lechá van de Paverd moved to England to attend boarding school, she was unable to bring Fiona with her, and could not join the school’s equestrian team. But following her move to the United States, Lechá van de Paverd and her family found a barn nearby where she is currently show jumping with a five-year-old horse and working with him to improve his patience when jumping.
When not spending time with her horse, Lechá van de Paverd enjoys mountain biking and field hockey. First learning how to ride a bike with her dad, they bond over mountain biking. She mentioned, “In Spain we used to bike together on trails and it was a lot of fun. As I got older, though, I lost interest in it, but have recently picked it back up, and have really been enjoying going with my dad.”
Additionally, while in England, she discovered her passion for field hockey. When she moved to Los Gatos, Lechá van de Paverd was excited for the opportunity to play on the Los Gatos High School Field Hockey Team. Unlike most who play a field position, she decided to become a goalie. Explaining her decision, Lechá van de Paverd explained, “I wanted to try something new, so I decided to give it a go, and it stuck.”
This year, Lechá van de Paverd is taking rigorous classes such as AP Spanish, AP French, and AP European History. She detailed, “Mr. Hughes is one of my favorite teachers; he’s really funny and makes history, a class that can be boring, interesting and fun to learn about.” In her time spent outside of school, Lechá van de Paverd also enjoys reading. She especially likes true crime novels.
Lechá van de Paverd concludes, giving the LG community with a recommendation: try new things. “It’s so important to get out into the world and try new things. The feeling of not knowing what’s to come is so freeing, and it’s a great way to connect with different people. You can share an experience that’s unique to both of you, which is really special.”