Not many students are able to say they are touring the world on stage, doing 400 hours of service and basking in the Mexican sun the year after high school, but Katie Baudler can. Her lightheartedness and positive outlook on life makes her a perfect tremendous twelve candidate as well as “most friendly” in the senior class.
Most students know Katie as someone who is easy to talk to and kind almost every second of the day, but Katie’s true character is defined by the home she lives in. “My family and I are tight; I learn so much from them,” Baudler said. Katie comes from a large family of seven and a house with constant commotion. “We call ourselves the seven dwarfs; we have even named each other,” Baudler said.
Despite the constant commotion, Katie still finds time to be a teen; she participates in a number of activities including track, cross country, Students for Human Life, Reviving Ophelia, and the knitting team, just to name a few. Her overall focus, however, has been on service, service to her community, to her friends and her family.
Katie has made service one of her highest priorities; she volunteers often at Primrose, around fifteen hours a week, and does a number of service activities through Students for Human Life and the National Honor Society. Katie’s service to her family, however, reaches far further than that of the average teen.
In 2001, Katie’s younger brother was diagnosed with autism. “When Jacob got autism, it was almost overnight; one moment he was a happy babbling baby, and the next he wouldn’t even look you in the eye,” Baudler said. She was forced to grow up quickly and develop patience, understanding and kindness faster than the average kid. “It’s hard; it can be really frustrating. Jacob is a lot of work, but it is worth it for all the rewards,” Baudler said.
From her experiences with Jacob, Katie has developed a love for service and people, “Jacob has made me such a people-person,” Baudler said. This relationship ultimately lead to her decision to take a gap year to do a year of service with Up With People. “My brother shows how to love more than anyone else; he has the love of a child that he never really seems to lose,” Baudler said.
Up With People consists of a group of young adults ages 18-28 who travel the world performing a culturally diverse stage show and doing service work in places such as Mexico, Switzerland and even Taiwan. “I think it is really good to educate yourself on all things global, and I am re- ally excited to be part of something bigger,” Baudler said.
After her year abroad Katie will be attending St. Norbert in De Pere, Wisconsin. “St. Norbert has a really big community, and that is really important to me, as well as keeping my faith,” Baudler said. At St. Norbert, she will be studying to become a special education teacher.
Katie seems to always have a positive attitude towards everyone, and her attitude lets her live life for each day. “I kind of have my own mantra; ‘Life is God’s novel, so just let him write it,” Baudler said.