Student-Athlete Spotlight: Natali Barrera

Parents: Nicanor and Nancy Barrera

Previous schools attended: Olmito Elementary (PreK- 4); Carver center – Midland, Texas (5); Resaca Middle School (6-8)

College: The University of Texas at Austin

Major and future plans: Undecided

School activities: Golf (9-12), team captain (11-12); National Honor Society, Texas Public Service Association (TPSA) state qualifier; 80+ hours of community service

Class rank: Top 2 percent

Inspiration for academic success: My mother has always inspired me to have high academic standards. She instilled in me that to succeed in life, I must succeed in school first. From a very young age, I knew that I would need to work my hardest to stand out in a sea of my qualified peers for any job opportunities, scholarship opportunities, and college acceptances. I also knew I would need to lighten the burden of finances because of my college education, which is why I have always taken it upon myself to make sure my grades met high standards. I urged myself to make sure I would not fall behind during those formative years because I believed that it could affect my life.

Life challenges: One challenge that I have faced was working during the school year. The summer before my junior year I decided to find out what the workforce was like. I was hired at Chick-Fil-A for my first job two weeks after I turned 16. Once the school year came around, I decided I wanted to keep working while participating in golf and other extracurricular activities. I worked up to 38-hour weeks regularly during the nine months I was employed. Although this job added stress to my life, it also showed me that if I applied myself, I could succeed even in tough times. Although I lost many hours of sleep I was able to go through real-life experience and gain knowledge about the real world.

Importance of participation in sports: My involvement in golf has helped me become not only a team player but a leader. I have learned to overcome any differences within the team and put them aside to strengthen the bond between the team and make our goal clear, which is to win. Golf showed me that I not only have people to rely on but that I also must learn to rely on myself in tough times. Tournaments have awards for a team individual scores, which means that every golfer must hold themselves accountable for their actions. Golf has also helped me bring out leadership skills in myself. As the sole captain of the team this year, our team dynamic will allow us to succeed.

Balance of academics and school activities: I have learned to manage my time effectively. After four years of practice, I have developed a rather efficient time management skill. The course of my high school career has been filled with extracurricular, advanced classes, and other outside activities, which has proved rather stressful when you only have 24 hours in a day. My daily routine consists of school, practice, and homework like many other students. Although make sure to use a specific schedule each time I need to complete an assignment. I make sure to do assignments in one-hour increments and keep 15 minutes as a mental break from whatever subject I am studying or doing homework for. This has proven to be effective for me.

Career goal: My current career goal is unknown. I do not know what I would specifically like to pursue but I do know I want to help people. I want to make a difference in someone’s life, one person at a time.  I recently started becoming more educated on politics as the presidential election nears, and I have been researching some of the laws in place that limit people’s human rights. I would like to change this even if it just for one person, I think everyone deserves equal rights and I know I have the passion to pursue a career where I will be able to help people fight for justice and freedom. I am considering becoming a lawyer because they deal with justice when it comes to a number of things. I believe everyone should get a fair opportunity no matter what circumstances they are under.