Student Activist: Cecelia & Catherine Zimmermann
St. Mary's Dominican High School
“Activism is more about a sense of belonging and adding value to the community. I feel that by working together something has been accomplished,” says Cecelia Zimmermann. “It isn’t all about oneself but it’s really about others and the community as a whole,” says Catherine Zimmermann
The sisters attend St. Mary’s Dominican High School, where Cecelia is a junior and Catherine is a sophomore. Their mother, Louise Zimmermann, a pediatric physical therapist who treats special needs kids, inspired them to become student activists.
They say their mother is always there for them and shows up for every aspect of their lives.
“We watch [our mother] with her special needs kids, and she treats them like she treats us. It makes us feel proud when we can watch her make those special kids smile or walk,” says Cecelia.
The sisters have done rewarding work in dance with special needs kids. Cecelia and Catherine have been dancing since they were very young and competed in many national competitions. One of their mother’s patients saw the sisters dancing, and said that she, too, wanted to dance.
Louise started a special needs dancing school and rehab facility called LBZ Believe Rehab and Dance Therapy, and her daughters helped teach the new students to dance.
“After the first year, we went to a national competition and that first student got on stage with us and competed as if her disability never existed. It was an absolute amazing feeling to see her get out of her wheelchair and dance like everyone else,” says Catherine.
Each year, the Zimmermann sisters dance with the special needs students and see the students compete as if they don’t have any disabilities.
“I feel that being a part of the community is a way for me to really express myself. When I think of all the gifts that I have been given, I realize how important it is for me to share these gifts with others,” says Cecelia.
Cecelia is exploring opportunities at different universities and is considering studying biology with a career in the medical field. Catherine doesn’t know where she wants to go to college, but she would like to study marine biology or become a veterinarian.