Greyhound Spotlight: Alex Katz '13

By Lucy Blodgett Fisher '99
Alec Katz '13 founded Curious Cardinals, an educational program offering a variety of specialized classes taught by a team of college students to high school and middle school students in an effort to address the gap in learning that COVID-19 has caused this year. Alec and his team are determined to help their communities by instilling curiosity in the minds of as many students as possible. In addition to founding Curious Cardinals, Alec is a member of the Aerospace Engineering Class of 2023 at Stanford University. 
How did JTD help you get to where you are today? 
JTD has instilled a love for learning and has fostered curiosity that continues to drive me each day. JTD has created friendships that will last a lifetime. I am lucky to have had such amazing teachers, like Ms. Hura, that I have stayed in close contact with and are available if I am ever seeking support or advice. 

What is your favorite memory of JTD? 
My favorite memory at JTD was career day. I think it is very important for young students to have mentors that they can look up to. Javier Arango (parent ’12, ’09), with whom I was paired with for career day, was a mentor to me. His love of learning and passion for flying ignited a spark in me that shines brighter every day. I never would have thought that when he took me around Van Nuys airport on JTD career day, I would be a licensed pilot, studying Aerospace Engineering at Stanford eight years later. I feel so privileged to have had inspiring mentors like Javier in my life, and I know that even if I can share a glimpse of his passion for learning with Curious Cardinals students, it will be a success. 

How have The 5C’s influenced your life? 
The 5C’s have created a moral foundation that has deeply influenced my life. In high school, I founded Soles4Good, a social microenterprise that sources and provides shoes to Senegal’s street youth. Now in college, Curious Cardinals has given me another opportunity to practice The 5C’s. Curious Cardinals is caring because we help students that have compromised learning situations find meaningful classes and uses cooperation since our team works together to share materials and collaborate. Curious Cardinals also uses common sense because we have filled a gap that the pandemic has created, consideration because we listen to students and help them find their passions, and courtesy because we welcome students from all backgrounds to promote diversity and exchanges of different perspectives. I urge you to consider the 6th C, curiosity, that is fundamental to our mission. As our motto states, ‘stay curious.’ We continue to stay curious and inspire curiosity in our students. 

Do you have any advice for current Greyhounds or young alumni?
Find your passion and pursue what you love. At Curious Cardinals, we help students find their unique passions not only by ‘tutoring’ them in the conventional manner, but mentor them and ignite a spark for learning. We are not just tutors - we are friends, we are coaches, we are mentors. We make ourselves available by text for our students if they need advice on any subject.

You can find out more information about Alec’s pursuits on Instagram at @curiouscardinals and on their website,

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The John Thomas Dye School

11414 Chalon Road
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Phone: (310) 476-2811
The John Thomas Dye School admits students of any race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other school-administered programs.

Located In Los Angeles, CA, John Thomas Dye is an independent school for grades K-6. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, fine arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.