Tom Mahota: Known for putting his best effort into everything he takes on, this 2017 Holy Family Catholic High School graduate explains opportunities and those around him helped shape a path for success.
“My family has always encouraged me to do well in school and work to become a better person, but being around people and friends who strive for the same things makes it much easier and more natural. Holy Family is an easy place to do this because there are so many good people who want success for themselves and others.” —Tom Mahota, 2017 Holy Family Graduate
Elementary/Middle School: Our Lady of the Lake School, Mound
Attending: University of Minnesota–Twin Cities
Major: Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics
Holy Family Activities:
- Nordic Skiing
- Knowledge Bowl
- Eco-Freako Club
- Bowling Club
- Honor Society
- Campus Ministry
- Empty Bowls
- Art Fairs
HF: What is your definition of “success?”
TOM: I think that someone who is successful in life is someone who has found happiness in themselves and in others. I’ve met a lot of people—good, bad and everything in between. One thing I’ve learned is that people who can recognize that their happiness doesn’t come from just themselves treat others with a particular kind of kindness.
Everyone has ups and downs in life, but the people who are able to find happiness in others are the ones who stand out to me. I would definitely consider this success.
HF: How have your varied experiences connected to the person you are?
TOM: One of the most valuable things that I’ve found in being involved in such a wide scope of things is how to deal with many different types of people.
It is amazing to experience the difference between the atmosphere of a locker room and an art fair. Neither one is better than the other, yet the people, the atmosphere and the temperament are completely different.
There is value in both, and the people I have met in both have definitely shaped me.
Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a very competitive person. A big reason for this is from the years of sports and having such a large part of my life be competitions with amazing coaches and mentors.
Then there is also the creative side. I’ve been building things for as long as I can remember, and the people I’ve met at places like workshops or art fairs are some of the most interesting and kind people I’ve encountered. I’m hoping that those traits are rubbing off on me as much as the competitiveness.
HF: With so many interests, how do you remain focused on what is important?
TOM: I think the best way is to simply surround yourself with the right people. My family has always been encouraging me to do well in school and work to become a better person, but being around people and friends who strive for the same things makes it much easier and more natural. Holy Family is an easy place to do this because there are so many good people who want success for themselves and for others.
HF: How do your interests transform how you perceive the world?
TOM: My perception of the world is through a lens of all the different things I do and the connections I can make between them. I’ve found my experience with things that seem totally different helps me excel when I bring qualities from each together.
One example is robotics. When designing and developing a machine to shoot balls, I used concepts and ideas from baseball pitching machines. I’d been around them my whole life and was able to draw a similarity from baseball to benefit what we did in robotics.
HF: Now that you have graduated, do you see yourself as a role model for other high school students?
TOM: The way I perceive myself is no differently than the way I see other people. Everyone has his or her own talents, interests and shortcomings, including myself.
I feel like a lot of times people see someone do something amazing and say, “Oh, there’s no way I could do anything like that,” before even trying it.
The only thing I would say that has helped me succeed is this: I never tell myself I can’t do something, or that something isn’t for me before I try it and decide for myself.
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