It is not about fitting in.
It took Grant Schnieders (12) three years to figure this out.
“What held me back was the idea of not being accepted by my current friends or the idea of being an outcast on the sports teams that I currently resided on,” Schnieders said.
As a freshman, Schnieders joined speech to develop his communication skills and FFA to improve his leadership skills.
“I always felt there was something missing in my life, and that was leadership,” Schnieders said. “I could never control any situation, so to feel like I have a grip on something, after FFA, I felt like I had a grip on life.”
Until his junior year, Schnieders never thought to try out anything other than choir because of the person he thought he was.
“I thought I was a jock,” Schnieders said. “Turns out, however, that my talent and my love for music is so much greater than that of any sport I will ever play.”
Once he took up more opportunities in the music department, he said that he found a family.
“I started to find a family and more friends than there are stars, because every single one of those people I have a common interest with, and that is music,” Schnieders said. “And every single one of those people has a big heart that loves to love.”
With two years of musical under his belt, Schnieders had a few moments that truly stuck out to him and helped to improve him as a person. Last year, during “Mary Poppins,” Schnieders said that a week before the opening show, he was still struggling with learning lines and singing songs.
“It wasn’t until that long Saturday practice that everything fell into place for me,” Schnieders said.
Fellow performers Grace Reiss and Justin Grawe advised Schnieders to relax and put himself into the character.
“Once they told me that, I loosened up and the character flowed out of me,” Schnieders said. “I felt so much more comfortable with my role and who I was, not only as an actor, but as regular me, that I was able to come outside my comfort zone and surprise myself and three audiences.”
Another moment that helped Schnieders realize how much he loved being a part of a family was at the end of this year’s musical, “Sister Act.” At the last performance, Schnieders had the opportunity to give a speech before performing.
“When I gave this speech, it came from the heart and it came from the inspiration from my family of the music department,” Schnieders said. “This speech was filled with love and expressed my passion for music and acting out boldly.”
Wanting freshmen to be able to be themselves, Schnieders has some advice.
“You may want to fit in, and I understand this because I fell victim to it, but try your very best to not let that happen,” Schnieders said. “You know yourself better than anyone ever will; now go out and prove that by not trying to be like everybody else.”