by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Soul of Photography

Natalie Brooks – a recent graduate from The Grauer School in Encinitas – is looking forward to attending Reed College in the fall. “I’m going to be majoring in English and minoring in philosophy,” said Natalie of her future plans. “I am hoping to get a teaching degree after I graduate and then start teaching high school English. I’m not sure where I’ll go, but I would enjoy spending a year or two in South America teaching English.”

It’s not surprising that Natalie has a great passion for writing. “Writing is my favorite thing to do in the world,” she shared. “I’m pretty introverted and so it’s my way to organize all my ideas.” The 18-year-old also enjoys reading and rock climbing. “Rock climbing is pretty much the only sport I really enjoy, because it’s extremely independent,” said Natalie. “What I enjoy most about climbing is the problem-solving aspect. Each route is actually called a problem because the act of attempting to get up the wall is just as much cerebral as physical.”

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Natalie – who expects to greatly miss her family and driving past Dog Beach at sunset when she is off at college next year – is inspired by her parents and siblings. “Passionate people inspire me,” she stated. “My mother is passionate about helping and loving, while my sister is passionate about accomplishment and efficiency. My dad is quietly passionate about creating things, which I think is the most amazing kind of passion because it is humble and doesn’t have to be perceived by others to be essential to his happiness.”


Name: Natalie Brooks (18)
School: Reed College
Year: Freshman
Parents: Tamara Keirsey and David Brooks
Siblings: Hayley (25), Matt (22), Will (15)
Favorite Places in Del Sol: 21st Street Beach, the cul-de-sac off of Del Mar Heights Rd., Del Mar Hill Elementary School


Being humble must run in the family because Natalie – who was recently honored as a Commended Student in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program for scoring in the top five percent of the nation on the PSAT – thinks the honor is a “little bit ridiculous.” She explained, “I think that the SAT and the ACT are ludicrous ways to determine who’s smarter than who. The smartest person I know got one of the lowest scores on the SAT that I’ve ever heard of someone getting. I think it’s another way to try and quantify someone’s intelligence, when intelligence is, I believe, an impossible thing to define with a number.”

Regardless of her feelings about being honored, it’s hard to deny that this passionate young lady is nothing short of exceptional.

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