Kaela ‘Kan’ Do!
by Cate Murway
Kaela Constance Jolibois, VJM ’18 excels in many fields.
“Kaela is an excellent student, with great promise in the field of art. While consistently reaching for only her best, she has a great sense of humor and is quick to laugh at her own mistakes. Just as quickly, she's back to work to make improvements.” Ellen Brooks, VJM Fine Arts Department Chair
Haitian born scientist Kern Gerald, who is working in biochemical pharmacology and toward his PhD in Health Policy, and his wife, chemical engineer and ‘Emerging Women Leader’ award recipient, Chipo [Mafarachisi] Jolibois, Esq. who grew up in Zimbabwe, a landlocked country in southern Africa, met at a professional networking event. Their two children, VJM sophomore Kaela and seventh grader, Aiden Luc are most fortunate to be exposed to many vast experiences.
They have visited family in England, South Africa, Australia and Zimbabwe, known for its dramatic landscape and diverse wildlife.
Aiden brought back a unique souvenir, a vuvuzela, a ‘stadium horn’ producing a loud monotone note most used at football matches in South Africa and was included in a marketing campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
“He used to wake me up with that!” recalls Kaela.
The Langhorne-based ‘Flowers by David’ shop owners, friends and neighbors, David and Robin Heller secured the wide awake Kaela’s artistic talent for their 20-year anniversary of participation in the annual blockbuster event, the 188th Philadelphia Flower Show. This year’s theme was “Explore America: 100 Years of the National Park Service” and the spectacular imagery provided ‘the best of America for a century- in a day’ with its rich supply of inspiration for horticultural creativity.
Kaela’s quest was to provide an allusion of trees in the distance for the Flowers by David’s “glamping” [glamorous camping], silver medal award winning “wedding in the woods” display.
“She did a fabulous job. Kaela did a really incredible job”, co-proprietor Robin Heller confirmed.
The VJM Art Scholarship recipient has “always liked art. I always had a bunch of coloring books; that was my thing.” When Kaela’s mom recognized that she was “past the arts and crafts stage. I found a professional husband and wife art team to work with her.”
Kaela earned her H.S. Art Scholarship by submitting a portfolio that included pastels, watercolors, charcoal and a pastel self-portrait.
Robert J. and Alice [Olson] Seufert instruct courses that include the basic nuts and bolts of how- to- draw in pencil, charcoal, ink, color pencil and pastel in their shared Seufert Art Studio in Bucks County. The subject matter includes still life, portraiture, architecture, cartooning, basic color and design, etc.
Kaela shared, “I prefer to use a lead pencil for still life because it’s right in front of you. I find that easiest.”
Her Freshman Art classes included some acrylic paint and working with collages on color theory. Her favorite project was her pink and yellow collection that evoked the emotion of excitement.
Kaela’s favorite color is pink. And her go-to foods?
“I don’t know if French fries count as a food but I really do like them and I really like lemonade, too.”
Music that matters is “pop music, top 50, anything Taylor Swift”….. another “enthusiastic optimist”.
This year’s Sophomore Art has her conquering pencil still life techniques and learning how to look at objects and see them like an artist; “random objects like fruit, shoes, hat boxes and sometimes contour line drawing with just outlines or pen and ink, entirely of patterns.”
She is currently preparing her presentation paper on a famous artist. “I chose Georgia O’Keeffe!”
Georgia Totto O'Keeffe [1887-1986], was an American artist best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, NYC skyscrapers, and NM landscapes, recognized as the "Mother of American modernism".
Kaela’s group of impressionistic trees, based on evergreen trees that she managed to make look both naturalistic and abstract, satisfied florist David Heller’s request for his Flower Show exhibit.
“He didn’t want detail just a suggestion of trees.” She diligently worked on the 3 yard, 6 yard, and 8 yard cotton fabrics that were to be hung from dowels and installed by the construction team at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Her sea-sponged acrylic paint banners were crafted in the entire hallway from front to back of her home.
The Jolibois family traveled to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for the preview night to see the final touches of the all the displays.
“I felt pretty good. I felt like proud”, Kaela acknowledged.
She is mastering other fields as well. While gymnastics, dance and the violin filled her “girly-girl” young elementary school days, her dad really wanted her to play soccer. She started playing one Fall when she watched her brother play. Then came the Spring, along with softball. She soon set herself apart as the fastest person running around the bases.
So, in 6th grade, Kaela began participation in CYO track with the 100m, 200m, 400m, and the 4x100 relay, that included a trek to Franklin Field.
“I have loved it ever since.”
Kaela holds the VJM Indoor 400m record and has competed at States in the 4x200 relay, and she ran both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays in the Penn Relays last year. “400m and the sprint relays are most important to me at this time.”
“Kaela is an amazing teammate. She pushes herself to do the best she can on the track and in school. She is the first person I see after running and she is supportive with her motivational pep talks”, shared VJM soccer teammate/4x200 relay anchor, Isabella Christine “Bella” Hill, VJM ’17.
“I could write a whole page full of wonderful aspects describing Kaela, so coming up with a simple quote was definitely hard to do. Kaela was an amazing teammate and still is a great friend to me. She exceeded on the track as well as in school. She always cracked a joke to lighten up an intense practice or just to make things more fun. A characteristic I respect most about Kaela is her modesty. She could run an amazing individual race or save a relay, but she never boasted and would always go on to congratulate/cheer on everyone else. Kaela is a very talented young athlete and student and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for her.”
former teammate, Erin K. Durnin, VJM '15/ Duquesne University
“I hope that how I do makes others strive to do better, because I model others.”
Kaela, the track “Rookie of the Year” certainly does lead by example.
She has consistently earned straight A’s throughout her school life and has merited “Highest Grade” awards in Honors Biology, World History, Freshman Art and French 1 and in a summer Honors Geometry program, as well.
The Student Council homeroom representative [President of Student Council in eighth grade at St. Ephrem School] is also a member of ‘Athletes Helping Athletes’. This endeavor presented her with an opportunity to share her athletic experiences along with her passion and love for sports, while assisting disabled student/athletes at a soccer clinic in the Fall.
Now which ‘field of dreams’ will entice this talented student/athlete most in her future?
“I enjoy all my classes. In the Science field, I like the human body and genetics. I am taking Anatomy next year; I’m leaning more toward the medical side.”
“You get whatever accomplishment you are willing to declare”. Georgia O'Keeffe
Recommend a “Children Are Our Future” Spotlight article. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org