MCGREGOR, Texas (KWTX) McGregor senior Natalie Aviles is currently a member of the varsity cheer squad, band, National Honor Society, Interact Club, Spanish Club, PALS and is the student council president.
It's a busy schedule for a high school student to say the least, but she has her reasons.
"At first I started to do a lot of things because I thought I wanted to be really open to everything," Aviles said. "I want to know what I like and what's good for me, so that way later in life I know that those things have helped me grow into who I am.
"Also, last year I became a lot more involved because my family went through a really hard time. By doing all of these different things, it's helped me to get my mind off that, and I find peace in stressing over other things like planning student council events."
Characterizing what Natalie and her family are going through as 'a hard time' may even be an understatement. Last year, Natalie's father, Mike, was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer that eventually spread to his liver and lungs.
Mike is currently undergoing treatment, and Natalie is staying strong trying to succeed and reach her goals for her father and family. She currently sits at No. 11 in her class and was recently accepted into UMHB, where she wants to study nursing.
"A lot of my family didn't have the opportunity to accomplish the goals that I'm accomplishing now and of course it's a big accomplishment for me personally to get where I am," Natalie Aviles said. "I have very high goals for myself but it's also something that will bring a lot of pride to my family.
"I've always wanted to go into medicine since I was really little, but now going through that, I've seen what it takes and the emotional aspect of it all and that's really grown my reasons to become a nurse."
Despite having that weight on her shoulders and a hectic schedule, she still finds time to play a sport she loves -- tennis.
"It's a big family thing and, you know, its hereditary, Natalie Aviles said. "Tennis has really taught me how to manage my stress. Tennis is a place where I can go to break away from the daily craziness, and it's a place where I can go and have fun, and it's really shown me that sometimes you need to take time out of your day to just be to yourself, and take that time to just concentrate on something other than everything that's going on."