Meet Natalie, she is 16 and a very kind and amazing sophomore here at East High. Natalie lives with her mom, dad, and her little sister Emily who is 14. “I really love my sister, sure we had our arguments but that’s just sisters, we have our inside jokes and a lot of stupid humor and stuff that only we get,” Schmersal said. “It’s great, I really love having a sister. The biggest challenge of having a little sister is getting along all the time cuz you don’t always get along when you have a sister or with any sibling, and the best part of having a sister is always having somebody to hang out with especially when my friends are busy, and yeah I like having a sister, she is another person in my life I look up to.”
Natalie went to two elementary schools: Maxey and then she switched to Kloefkorn. While in elementary school, she joined band, but her real love for flute and saxophone started when she was in middle school. Natalie went to Lux for middle school and really enjoyed doing band there. “Mr. Holloman, the band teacher, was my favorite teacher at Lux,” Schmersal said.
Natalie also found her love for show choir at Lux Middle School. In 7th grade, she was in D’Light, and in 8th grade she was in D’Lux. Without those, she wouldn’t have joined show choir at East. “I have changed a lot from middle school,” Schmersal said. “I used to be an outgoing talkative person and now I try to be a little reserved, I did meet a lot of my lifelong friends in elementary and middle school and without them I wouldn’t be who I am.”
“Freshman year here at East was a little stressful because of personal reasons, but I did meet half of my friends that I have now,” Schmersal said. Natalie also had her first show choir competition season her freshman year. “Auditioning for show choir was very nerve racking because it was my first ever actual audition for something like that and I never really knew what to expect and there were a lot more people than I thought there would be. I was very surprised when I made it into Elevation, and I was happy because it was something I really wanted to do because I really enjoy singing and dancing.”
Natalie is also part of East High’s marching band. “Marching Band as a freshman was a little confusing,” Schmersal said. “The upperclassmen were crazy, but it’s a good group of people I feel comfortable with and I met a lot of friends in band as a freshman and they helped me in band and as a human.”
However, Natalie’s freshman year was interrupted by the pandemic. “When the pandemic first hit, I was kind of glad to be out of school for a while because my dad, sister and I went down to our farm for about two weeks and it was nice,” Schmersal said. “Sure it was kind of confusing to do some sort of school online but I liked being able to stay home and in places you are comfortable learning in.”
Natalie is also thinking ahead to what her life after high school will look like. “For college, I would like to go to UNL,” Schmersal said. “I want to stay close. After I finish high school and college, I would like to do something with the performing arts or computer science.”
Outside of school, Natalie is a dancer and does horseback riding. “I dance at Pas De Deux, I take pointe, tap, Irish, and contemporary classes,” Schmersal said. “My favorite style is contemporary or Irish, I have been dancing for almost 11 years now.”
“The most challenging part about being a dancer is you have to keep dances apart,” Schmersal continued. “I do six different styles so I have to try to keep six different dances apart, and for Irish I do three different dances. Learning the dances and having to memorize all of them is challenging, especially when they are high energy dances like Irish.”
“Some advice to people who want to dance or are a dancer, don’t give up because it’s very easy to give up at dance, but if you learn to get past that then you can do some really cool things and you can really expand your knowledge of dance and your ability to dance, because if you give up you will never have that,” Schmersal said.
“I have also been riding horses for about a year, I ride at S&L stables,” Schmersal said. Natalie rides two different horses: one named Carolyn and one named Abby. Natalie enjoys doing competitions with her horses. “I’ve done TGI 2022/2021 with Carolyn and I placed first, I also have done the Prairie Dressing Show and placed second, also with Carolyn, I hope to start showing Abby at future competitions.”
“For some advice, I would say horses are hard to work with and you are going to have to learn to deal with that,” Schmersal said. “For me, it’s something that really builds my courage with riding, because you’re riding around a 300 to 1,000 pound animal, depending on what type of horse it is, and they could honestly kill you if they wanted to. Going back to not giving up, if they are giving you a hard time, push past it and tell them to knock it off and eventually you’ll get past it, and also listen to your instructor because they know what they are doing.”
Natalie also has some advice she’d give to her middle school self. “I would tell my younger self there are going to be things that happen in your life that make you change your perspective on things, there are going to be things in your life that will challenge you, probably in ways you don’t want, but everything will be okay in the end and eventually you will get past it,” Schmersal said.
Natalie is a very kind person and a great friend, too, so the next time you see her hallway make sure to say hello.