Teen of the week: busy and in love | News, Sports, Jobs
NEW MATAMORAS — Haylee Berentz is a 17-year-old junior at Frontier High School where, according to school counselors, she is ranked first in her class.
To say that Berentz is a busy teenager would be an understatement. She is a pitcher for the softball team, president of the FFA, plays French horn in the concert band and mellophone for the marching band, and is co-captain of the varsity cheerleading team. This can make football matches hectic for her.
“I do the first quarter with cheers, then the second quarter and half with a group, then the third and fourth quarters with cheers”, Berentz said. “A lot of back and forth. And I do the pre-game, the national anthem, the fight song, with a band before the game. So, it’s group, bravo, group, bravo.
Berentz also said she helps her mother with her Sunday school class at their church. She said she did a lot of cleaning, she helped the younger ones with cut-and-paste, led the songs and sang in the choir. She said she always had music around her.
“My mother always liked to sing, she always sang,” Berentz said. “My brother and my grandfather play guitar, so I grew up listening to him play guitar.”
Berentz said his grandfather played a lot of old country, with Johnny Cash being a big player. She said he was playing “Ring of Fire” by Cash at every family gathering and everyone will join in and sing.
“We had a family reunion last week and they were all playing,” Berentz said. “It’s just in the family.”
Berentz is a pitcher for the Frontier High School softball team and says softball was among her first loves, but her attention turned to the FFA and the band. She said she tried other sports, but didn’t find the same love for them that she had for softball.
“And that’s kind of why I started the band and FFA,” Berentz said. “I tried volleyball, I tried basketball, and it just wasn’t for me. So I tried band, and I tried FFA, and those are the things. that I love.
Berentz said she grew up with a love for animals and her grandfather always had pigs by his side. She said she joined FFA and started raising her own pigs and fell in love with them.
“So I’ve been raising pigs for the fair for two years,” Berentz said. “And that’s kind of what really brought me to FFA.”
Berentz said his interest in joining the band started in eighth grade when his brother was a senior and a member of the band. She said she always wanted to take a class with him and thought it would be a good way to do it.
“I had seen him do a band and kind of thought I wanted to try it out and see how it went,” Berentz said. “And I loved it!”
Berentz said she received a French horn from Shirelle Barnett, the director of the band who had just taken over the music program at Frontier High School, and enjoyed playing it. She has since also started playing clarinet, trumpet and tenor saxophone.
“When I first joined the band, I didn’t really think it was something I was going to stick with,” Berentz said. “But I decided I was going to finish my eighth year, and then I decided to do my first year again, and I fell in love with it. And I think that’s what I want to do. I want to be music teacher.
Berentz has participated in band camps, which include the Honor Band and the 2022 Choir at Marietta College. She said she fell in love with the people and campus there and hopes to attend Marietta College to pursue her interest in music education after graduating from high school.
Berentz said Barnett had a big impact on her decision to pursue a future that involves teaching music. She said the impact was not limited to her. Three other band members want to attend Marietta College and become music teachers because of Barnett. She said this group was the first there when Barnett took over the music program at Frontier High School and she had an impact on all of them.
“She inspired us all” Berentz said. “I think we all want to be like her. We all want to teach music.