Skip Navigation

Salute to Alumni

Victoria Matveev, Class of 2013 – Suarez was named Pomona Community Hero of the Year.  University of La Verne sophomore Victoria Matveev-Suarez has been volunteering in community for as long as she can remember.  Receiving the 2014 Pomona Community Hero of the Year Award still came as a surprise, despite her hard work.  “I feel so blessed to be given this award.”  Matveev-Suarez said.  In addition to balancing school and work, Matveev-Suarez always makes time to volunteer and help out in the community.  As a graduate of Pomona Catholic High School, she makes sure to come back and help with the track and soccer teams.  She competed on both teams during all four years of high school, and appreciated the mentors who would volunteer their time.  “When I’m there and coaching the girls, they ask about college, and have questions about all aspect of life.  I can relate to the girls and am happy to be there and have that time with them: she said.  And her work in volunteerism shows no sign of slowing down. “Anytime I have the opportunity to volunteer I take it.”

Alicia Perez, Class of 2009, earned her BA in Film and Television from Cal State Fullerton and spent a year teaching art in rural Mississippi.  She returned to California to pursue a Paralegal Certificate.  Currently, she works for the city of Walnut and interns for a law firm in Santa Ana.  She also freelances as an artist.  At PC, she started in As It Is in Heaven and competed at the Cal Poly Shakespeare competition.  She appeared in the first alumni show, The Female Odd Couple three years ago.


Megan Papalia, Class of 2005, participated in every drama production while at PC and appeared in the first alumni show, The Female Odd Couple, three years ago.  Her passion and talent lie in art.  She currently works in Design Distribution Dept. at Houdini Inc. Wine Country Baskets.  She also has a website ( and has been commissioned to create paintings, tatto designs, and company logos.


Angelica Juarez, Class of 2013, currently attends Mt. Saint Mary’s University studying towards a degree in psychology.  While at PC, she only began acting her senior year, appearing the fall play, The Trouble With Trent and competing at Cal Poly Shakespeare Competition, earning membership in The International Thespian Society.  She also had a one act play written for her.


Thelma Diaz, Class of 1975, received her BS from Cal Poly in Business Administration/Human Resources and currently works for Chino Valley Unified School District.  A veteran of community theatre, she appeared in the first alumni production, The Female Odd Couple, three years ago.  She dedicates this performance to her family, especially her parents and brother and thanks the cast for the opportunity to “play.”

Michel Cota, Class of 2008 received her BA from Cal Poly, Pomona, majoring in Liberal Studies with a minor in psychology. This September 2014 she will attend Alliant International University to earn her MA in Couple and Family Therapy.  She has interned as a case manager for low income domestic violence victims and currently works as a respite care giver for children on the autism spectrum.  she dreams of one day opening a private practice.


Amber Padilla, Class of 2012, attends Caldwell College, NJ.  Click here to learn more.  Highlights: Padilla the 2011 CIF Division VII & Arrowhead League Player of the Year, posted an 18-4 record, a 0.00 earned run average in league with 189 strikeouts in 112 innings. Padilla also pitched 2 consecutive Perfect Games during the 2011 Southern Section Div. VII CIF Playoffs. She hit 3 triples, 7 doubles while helping her team with 41 RBI, and a .457 batting average during the 2011 season. She was named to Cal-Hi All-State Softball Team, MaxPreps CA Small Schools All-State Team, ESPN RiseAll-California Team, MaxPreps All American 2nd Team, All CIF Team, 1st Team All League, Varsity MVP Coaches Award, and Inland Valley 1st Team following her junior campaign. Padilla lead Pomona Catholic to CIF and State Championship Titles in 2011.  Padilla also helped OC Batbusters –Gold to a third place finish at Premier Girls Fastpitch National Tournament along with a second place finish in at the Boulder Independence Day tournament during the 2011 summer.  Amber is shown with her Grandfather Henry Padilla (Pomona Catholic Alumni ’57)

Estrella (Star) Gonzales Romero, Class of 1997, is the eldest of four sisters (Sonya, Sara and Selese Gonzales) who also attended PC after graduating from St. George Catholic School in Ontario, CA. While at PC, she was a member of student government, (Class Office/ASB), Campus Ministry, Ambassadors, CSF, NHS, Volleyball, and Softball. She was also a member of the Homecoming Court for Damien during her Senior Year. After graduating from PC, she attended California State University, Fullerton where she earned two bachelor’s degrees in Speech Communication and Journalism. She continued at CSUF to earn a Master’s Degree in Human Communication Studies. Finally, she attended Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA where she earned her PhD in Education. She has worked in Human Resource Management and Education.She returned to PC as an instructor/college counselor and has also taught at various colleges and universities.  She is currently an Associate Professor at Riverside City College in the Department of Communication Studies.

Sister Catalina Batres (Cathy Batres), Class of 1990, serves as Treasurer General and will oversee the finances of the entire Congregation of the Felician Sisters.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Class of 1988 -United States House of Representatives for the State of Florida. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She immigrated to the United States when she was 14 years old with her mother and three older sisters. She began working in a donut shop and continued to work to help support her family. She attended Pomona Catholic High School in Pomona, California. She earned a BA in Political Science from Pitzer College and an MA in International Political Economy from Claremont Graduate University. Debbie was a candidate for Florida's 26th congressional district of the United States House of Representatives in the 2018 elections. In the November 6 general election, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell became the first Ecuadorian American to be elected to the United States Congress. Click here to view Debbie's message to students: Click here to view message to students.

Sister Margaret Marie Padilla, Class of 1976, was elected to the General Council of the Felician Sisters in May of 2012.  Sister Margaret’s election to this prestigious post has made it necessary for her to relocate to Rome, Italy.

Cecilia Preciado Burciaga, Class of 1963, has a long and distinguished record in higher education. She has exhibited a professional and personal commitment to creating educational and learning opportunities for the Latino population in California and throughout the country.  A native Californian, Ms. Burciaga has demonstrated experience and understanding of California’s post secondary public and private institutions.  Ms. Burciaga served as one of the founding administrators of California State University, Monterey Bay.  She first worked in the Office of the President and later as the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs.

Marie Therese Porter Royce, Class of 1979  - United States Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.  Marie Royce was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs on March 30, 2018. In this capacity, she oversees a wide range of programs that advance U.S. foreign policy objectives through educational, professional, cultural, and sports exchanges that promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other nations and create networks and partnerships to advance U.S. foreign policy goals and address global challenges and opportunities.

Geoffrey Peter “Geoff” Vanderstock (born October 8, 1946 in Chicago, Illinois) (also known as Jeff) is an American track and field athlete primarily known for running hurdles. He was once the World Record holder in the 400 meters hurdles. His 48.94 was set at the high altitude United States Olympic Trials (track and field) at Echo Summit, California on September 11, 1968. He was the first man to run the event under 49 seconds. The hand time took .3 off the previous record held by Rex Cawley.[1] A month later at the 1968 Summer Olympics, he finished 4th in a tight race between 2nd place and 4th place, and given a time of 49.06, while watching David Hemery demolish his world record running 48.12

John Coburn Stewart – Class of 1957, (September 5, 1939 – January 19, 2008) was an American songwriter and singer. He is known for his contributions to the American folk music movement of the 1960s while with The Kingston Trio (1961–1967) and as popular music songwriter of The Monkees‘ #1 hit “Daydream Believer” and his own #5 hit “Gold”, among  several hundred original songs composed over a career of more than 40 years.


*Please send us your accomplishments: