Portage High School Senior Kaela Winfield sports a dense schedule, busying herself with a seemingly infinite set of school-related groups. This ambition began as early as elementary school.
It was in fifth grade when Winfield rose to the top of the elementary school student council’s pyramid, claiming the title of president. In a satisfying display of continuity, Winfield resumed her participation in student council in high school, which began sophomore year when Winfield had the council’s sponsor for a math class at the time. Towards the end of junior year, she applied for and attained the role of secretary for the high school student council. The group holds executive authority over many school activities and functions.
“We put together different programs and different activities,” said Winfield. “I mostly have fun putting together dances such as winter formal or prom. Those are my favorite events to do.”
School council is not the only group in which Winfield has been involved from an early age. One year after she became the elementary school student council’s president, Winfield introduced herself to the school’s ‘regular’ choir. A career beginning in sixth grade, her participation spans through the present. Looking to the future, she is especially excited about a piece the choir is practicing for an upcoming contest.
“It's called ‘Kid Song,’” Winfield said. “Basically, it's a mashup of all your childhood songs such as ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider,’ ‘Bingo,’ and ‘London Bridge.’”
While the choir only demands vocals, the Portage High School Choraliers requires additional challenges of physical endurance and coordination. She joined the show choir during her junior year, her patience for success tested as the group recently won the Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) dance competition. The Choraliers triune performance of “Love Runs Out,” “Seasons of Love” and “Higher and Higher” lead the team to gold. While the moment was triumphant, Winfield’s favorite performance to execute was “Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson, as she is a staunch fan of Christmas.
“I love Christmas. I love decorating. I love baking,” Winfield said. “I love the idea of Santa Claus coming on your rooftop, but I also love knowing about the birth of Christ due to my religious history.”
Winfield’s involvement with Natural Helpers proves that she embraces the spirit of giving year round. Natural Helpers is an organization which seeks to create an environment of open conversation about sensitive topics facing teenagers, such as mental health, teen pregnancy and abuse. The organization hosts a retreat with the mission of facilitating this interaction, often having their participants perform humorous skits or act in camp leader positions. Winfield finds herself agreeing with Natural Helpers’ philosophy.
“These issues happen every day, and nobody wants to talk about them,” Winfield reflected. “These people are friends my age, and they need help. This experience has taught me that if somebody's in need of help, to help them.”
Possessing a background of such diverse interests, Winfield had initially found the prospect of narrowing her focus for her future difficult.
“I never really had a set goal. I jumped from wanting to major in history to wanting to be a teacher to wanting to be a nurse,” Winfield said.
It was her recent involvement in a public relations internship for Portage Township Schools which she credits as having given direction to her life. The internship is currently presenting her with two projects, one of which is for the Hub Coalition of Porter County. The Hub Coalition aims to assist teenagers struggling with drugs, namely alcohol, marijuana, and opioid misuse. Her role involves developing a marketing strategy to spread information on the subjects, such as through social media and posters. From this experience, she has learned that she wishes to have a career in the public relations realm.
“My career is probably going to involve marketing or public relations,” said Winfield. “This is the career I want to have for sure.”
Winfield was accepted into the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington with a full tuition scholarship from the school.