SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- In Union Catholic's latest installment of Feature Friday, the spotlight shined on freshmen Alexis Roth and Gabriella Prati.

The dynamic duo have made an immediate impact on the UC gymnastics program, leading the Vikings to a 3-2 record.

Union Catholic has topped 100 points in all four meets that Roth and Prati have competed in. In those four meets, Roth finished first in the all-round competition three times, and Prati placed first in the all-round once. In its most recent meet, a hard-fought loss to Scotch Plains (103.8-102.95), Roth was first and Prati second in the all-round.     

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Roth, who lives in Edison, is an Honor Roll student, and a member of the cheerleading squad. Prati, who lives in Rahway, is also an Honor Roll Student.

Here is our Q and A with Roth and Prati - 

What does it mean to you to be putting up such great scores and helping the team to a winning record? 
Roth: It is exciting to be able to put up good scores to help the UC team this season. It is so fun to be part of a team working to rebuild and come back stronger after a tough season with lots of injuries last year. I’m excited to be able to do what I can to support my teammates.

Prati: It means a lot to me to be able to contribute to our success. It’s an honor to be surrounded by a team that is so supportive and encouraging.

What do you love the most about being a member of the gymnastics team at UC? 
Roth: I love that the team has members from all four grades. It has been great opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, and be part of a team working together toward the same goal.

Prati: I love the new friendships I’ve made.

How and when did you get started in gymnastics and what do you love the most about being a gymnast?   

Roth: I started taking gymnastics classes at age four, and began competing when I was six. The thing I love most about being a gymnast is that there is always room to improve and upgrade. It’s a sport that is constantly changing. I love working new skills and it allows me to be very dedicated and self-motivated.

Prati: I got started in gymnastics in kindergarten. My interest started by watching others. My favorite part about being a gymnast is learning new skills and overcoming my fears. 
 
What is your favorite event to compete in and why? 

Roth: My favorite event to compete in is the floor exercise because I get the opportunity to express myself and show off my personality. I love to tumble, create choreography, and perform.

Prati: My favorite event to compete in is bars because it makes me feel like I’m flying.

You are both such well-rounded students at UC. Can you list everything you are involved in at UC? Clubs etc.?
Roth: I am involved in SMAC, The Service Club, and the Journalism Club. I was also a member of the Fall and Winter Varsity Cheerleading Teams. When we go back to school full time, I’m looking forward to getting even more involved in the school.

Prati: I am part of the Business Club, Paws for a Cause, and the All for Kids Club. I hope to get more involved in the future.

Can you list any awards/honors you have received at UC? Honor Roll, academic awards etc. or anything else?
Roth: I am a recipient of a Principal’s Scholarship and have achieved First Honors the past three marking periods.

Prati: I received First Honors for the past three marking periods.
 
Can you explain how the balance between academics, and extracurricular activities has helped you become a better student, and how important it is to be involved in different things?
Roth: Balancing academics and extracurriculars has helped me become a better student because it has developed my time management skills and helps me find a balance between my education and other activities. I think it is important to be involved in different things because it allows you to gain a lot of experiences and gives you the opportunity to meet new people and make friends.

Prati: Being involved in extracurricular activities has helped me become a better student because it teaches me time management and how to prioritize and organize.

What do you love the most about being a student at Union Catholic? 
Roth: I love being a student at UC because I have met so many amazing people. It’s extremely comforting to have a community that wants the best for you, and encourages you to strengthen your Catholic faith.

Prati: I find it to be a very welcoming environment where I have made many friends.

Why and how did you decide that UC was the place for you to be? What was it about UC that made you want to be a student here?

Roth: I knew the first time I toured at UC that it was the perfect place for me. The students and faculty I met when I toured and during Freshman For A Day made this school feel like home. The opportunity to participate in a rigorous academic program combined with the amount of activities and athletics made me realize this is where I wanted to spend the next four years.

Prati: My sister (Emma) is a junior at UC, and I was able to see what UC was all about through her.

What kind of advice would you give to younger students who are considering attending UC? Why should they come to UC and what will UC give them that they won’t be able to find at other schools?

Roth: I would suggest talking to as many students as you can. UC is such a wonderfully diverse school, and has something for everyone. From the various academic levels to the sports teams and clubs, UC has created an environment where everyone can achieve their goals and become the best version of themselves. That’s something hard to find, but UC knows exactly how to help students do just that!

Prati: My advice would be to get involved in as many things as possible. It is a very positive environment. The teachers care about their students and want the best for them. 

What is something about yourself that most people don’t know? Maybe a hidden talent or hobby?
Roth: Most people don’t know that I love to skateboard and bake, but not at the same time.

Prati: I like to play the ukulele, penny-board, and make bracelets.

Favorite thing to do in your spare time?  
Roth: My favorite thing to do in my spare time is hang out with my friends and listen to music.

Prati: My favorite thing to do in my spare time is hang out with friends and  watch Netflix.

Favorite class and teacher at UC?
Roth: My favorite class is writing, and my favorite teacher is Mrs. Doherty.

Prati: My favorite class is Mrs. Doherty’s AC Geometry.
 
Favorite UC gymnastics Moment? 
Roth: My favorite UC gymnastics moment was winning the first meet against Union High School, and exceeding our goal with a 101.85 team score.

Prati: Winning 1st all-around at the Cranford meet.

Favorite UC non-gymnastics Moment?
Roth: My favorite UC non-gymnastics moment was having my first in-person lunch with my new friends.

Prati: Going into school to see my friends.

Favorite UC Event?
Roth: My favorite UC event was watching Love Awkwardly, the Fall play as a drive-in theater.

Prati: The Drive in Fall Play

Favorite UC Core Value and why?
Roth: My favorite UC Core Value is Community because as we go through this pandemic, which has greatly affected our learning experience, it is important to have a strong community that helps keep us connected to each other and those around us.

Prati: My favorite core value is community because it perfectly describes what UC is.

Life Motto?
Roth: If you’re happy doing what you’re doing, then no one can tell you you’re not successful.

Prati: For gymnastics it’s - just go for it, you won’t get hurt that bad.

One word to describe your UC experience?
Roth: Motivating

Prati: Unique

Share one tip for members of UC’s Class of 2025?
Roth: Put yourself out there and get involved – you may meet some of your best friends through extracurriculars!

Prati: Get involved, have fun, and make friends.