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Senior set to join Young Americans

Kaitlin Hermanson, Profiles Editor

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While many seniors will be packing up to move across Michigan this fall to pursue their education in a college setting, Natalie Liegeois is preparing to make the big move to southern California, where she will participating in the Young Americans program.

YA is a non-profit organization whose goal is to influence schools to keep music education programs alive around the nation and globe.

“I will be there for mainly dance,” Liegeois said. “However, I will be taking dance, vocal, and theater classes as well,”

Liegeois, who has been dancing since the age of 3, said she first heard about YA when they came to Shores for a workshop her freshman year.

However, she realized she wanted to audition the summer of her junior year.

“I really gained interest when my friend, (2016 graduate) Michael Kresnak, joined the program,” Liegeois said. “I realized that it was something that I really thought I would love and be able to do, and a lot of the kids in YA are really similar to who I am. They have a passion for the arts and want to work with children, so I knew then that it was the right place for me.”

As certain as Liegeois was that Young Americans was the right step, her mother was at first much more reluctant.

“She was totally against it at first,” Liegeois said. “She did not want me to go.”

Eventually, after meeting with Kresnak and his mother, Liegeois got approval.

“(My mom) felt a lot better knowing that I’ll be getting my associate’s for two years while I’m out there and taking the same type of classes that I would if I were at MCC but also getting more experience and doing the things I love,” Liegeois said.

However, it still was not a done deal – even though her mother was leaning toward allowing her to go.

“It took about two months after I found out I got in, which was last October, to convince her to let me go,” Liegeois said. “At first, it was kind of the ‘Oh, we’ll see’ type of thing, but a few months later after we talked about it a lot, she was like, ‘We can totally make this work.’”

Along with big changes comes a lot of excitement and a lot of nerves for this 2017 New Kid, as the program calls its first-year students.

“The whole point of the program is to influence schools to keep music alive because a lot of the time when there are budget cuts, music programs are the first thing to go,” Liegeois said. “I am so excited to be able to work with all of the kids, make a difference, and learn. I’m most nervous about meeting all of the other New Kids, but I know that even though we are all different, music is something that brought us all to the same place.”

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