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Big dreams propel TKHS senior to business school

Your Dream is Our Dream: Natalie Alden

Your Dream is Our Dream is an initiative of Kent ISD

Thornapple Kellogg — Natalie Alden, a senior graduating from Thornapple Kellogg High School, spent much of her time outside of class during high school in her school’s auditorium and choir room. This spring, she even played the leading role of Fiona in “Shrek: The Musical.” 

She won’t be heading to theater school after graduation, but her experiences performing and being in front of people at TKHS will propel her as she studies business at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in the fall. Read more about how her high school career prompted her to pursue her biggest dream yet: to change the world through business.

What is your dream? “My dream for the future is to work in business at some sort of company/corporation in a big city like New York or Chicago. It’s always been my dream to live in a big city, and because of where I’m going to college and the opportunities that will arise, that dream will (hopefully) be made into a reality.”

BPA advisor Keith Hamming encouraged Natalie to apply to the University of Michigan

Why is this your dream? “Although it sounds cliché, I want to change the world in some way, whether it’s big or small. By working at a big company, I can hopefully work my way up to a position where I will have that ability to make real change in some way. Business as a whole is so exciting to me, because it’s a field where I’ll be able to work with real people in real time. I’ve had a taste of this during my time in Business Professionals of America, but I know as I advance to college and beyond I will truly unlock my full potential.”

What future plans do you have for college or internships to pursue your dream? “Next year, I will be attending the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan to pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration. I am so unbelievably excited to attend Ross, as I know I will learn and gain so much during my time there. Attaining my BBA through Ross will allow me to explore so many aspects of business that I wouldn’t be able to anywhere else. The experiences I will have will be unlike those I would find at any other university, so I am thrilled that I have the opportunity to spend my next four years at U of M.”

Natalie placed third in the state at the Business Professionals of America competition in March 2023 for Basic Office Systems and Procedures (courtesy)

How are school and your teachers helping you achieve your dream?I will always be grateful for TK and the incredible opportunities I’ve received because I went here. For one, its fantastic music and theater programs gave me countless memories and chances to put myself out there. I’ve been involved in band, choir, and theater all four years of high school and have had such immense growth because of it. 

“Additionally, I owe virtually all of my business-related experiences and successes to TK’s Business Professionals of America chapter, which I had the privilege of leading as president this past year. Since I joined at the beginning of last year, Mr. Hamming, our advisor, has been a tremendous support in all my endeavors during BPA. He encouraged me to audition to sing the National Anthem at the State Leadership Conference, which I actually ended up doing! He also has been immensely supportive of my decision to attend Ross, and I wouldn’t be as successful and ready to enter the business field if it hadn’t been for him and BPA as a whole.”

‘Although it sounds cliché, I want to change the world in some way, whether it’s big or small.’

— Natalie Alden, Thornapple Kellogg High School senior

Is there a well-known person who inspires you to pursue your dreams? “I wouldn’t say there’s a well-known person that specifically inspires me, but rather two not-as-well-known people, those being my parents. For my entire life, I’ve seen them work tirelessly and fearlessly, always somehow being able to balance their challenging careers with being excellents parents for my sister and I. My dad is who inspired me to go into business, and my mom is who inspired me to go the extra mile and put in the effort in applying to U of M. I would absolutely not be in the incredible position I am today if it wasn’t for them and just how immensely supportive they are of everything I do.”

Natalie spent her high school career performing in musicals and Thornapple Kellogg’s Honors Choir (courtesy)
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Allison Poosawtsee
Allison Poosawtsee
Allison Poosawtsee is a reporter covering Rockford Public Schools and Kent City Community Schools. She has spent 15+ years working and writing in the education context, first for her alma mater, Calvin University, and then for various businesses and nonprofit organizations in the Grand Rapids area. As a student journalist, she served as editor-in-chief of Calvin’s student newspaper where she garnered several Michigan Collegiate Press Association awards for her work. Allison is a proud parent of two Grand Rapids Public Schools scholars and a passionate advocate for the value of public education.


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