Kindess, empathy, and compassion are all traits that take time to develop, but luckily for the people in her life, BSM senior Natasha Wagner embodies those words. Her general concern for others makes her a friend anyone would be lucky to find in high school.
If Tasha Wagner was meal, she would be popcorn. Considering she all but hops from place to place and literally pops into classrooms with a huge smile on her face, this assessment seems incredibly accurate. Tasha is the kind of person you would see on Ellen. I can just picture her dancing to a Sara Bareilles song as she walks into the studio. Ellen would congratulate Tasha on her optimism and enthusiasm and then give her a check for $10,000 and everyone would clap and cry. An active member of speech, theatre, and peer ministry, Tasha brings her unfailingly positive attitude to everyone she meets in the BSM community.
While Tasha has been on the speech team since 9th grade, her proudest speech-related accomplishments were achieved this past season. Having participated in Duo Interpretation, Storytelling, and Creative Expression, she found success in both Creative and Storytelling this year, making it to the final round of competition in both categories at a tournament. “One memory I have from speech is when I learned I double-broke for the first time. People had finally identified with my story,” Tasha said.
Perhaps the reason for her success is because of the subject matter of her speech. This year, Tasha finally gained the courage to write her own piece, in the Creative Expression category, in which she told a very personal and moving story. “It’s been about five years in the making of life-stories. I finally got to that point that I could talk about it to other people. It was called ‘Walls.’ So the walls are the things that can protect you but they can also push you in. And my walls have been pushing me in too much, and I need to focus on breaking them down,” she said.
What makes Tasha so tremendous is that, while she is proud of her own accomplishments, she is equally if not more excited for other students’ achievements. For her, seeing younger students find their niche at BSM is the most exciting. “For theater, it’s mainly been about encouraging others to go through the journey that I went through, because my journey was breaking out of my shell. I’ve been writing the senior letters and a lot of them said ‘I’ve really enjoyed watching you break out of your shell,’” she said.
This excitement for younger students reaches people outside of the drama department, too; Tasha hasworked as a Peer Minister, guiding underclassmen on their retreats and offering them helpful advice. “I did the freshmen retreat, which was one of my favorite experiences. The kids were all super nice, and my group of girls were some of the nicest kids. By Saturday night, we had given our life stories and they all opened up completely.”
This genuine concern for others goes beyond just underclassmen; anyone who spends time with Tasha can attest to the profound kindness with which she lives her life. “She will take on your problem like it’s her own; that kindness and sweet happy energy is what keeps us going. She smiles and the room smiles with her. She really does everything she can to help and love others,” senior Sabrina Ehrmantraut said.
This caring, compassionate attitude is central to Tasha’s character. Throughout her time at BSM, she has made the stage, hallways, and classrooms brighter with her ability to see the good in every situation. “I’ve surprised myself over and over, and that’s one of the things that I’m writing in my senior letters [to underclassmen]––you will surprise yourself. I’ve also learned that every friend still leaves an impact. You have to look for the best in people,” she said.