Driven by ambition

Callie Bratsch shares what it’s like to be involved in so much and still do so well


Gracie Kreup

Callie Bratsch worked hard perfecting a dance routine. Bratsch spends long hours at hard practices to nail each routine.

Kayla Reyes, Staff reporter

It’s 10 o’clock on a Tuesday night and senior Callie Bratsch is finally returning home, longing to retire to her bed. Exhausted after school, Sensations practice, and her shift at Title Boxing Club, she still has to do homework, eat dinner, and get ready for bed.
To Bratsch, this hectic schedule has become normal. On top of her job, extracurriculars, and honors classes, she dances more than 30 hours a week for Sensations and studio dance. She routinely spends most of her time completing assignments for school, working, and practicing for Sensations and studio dance.
Bratsch has always pushed herself to be involved in the most she can, both with school and with non-academic pursuits. In past years, Bratsch had taken all honors classes in addition to her numerous activities and extracurriculars.
Before this school year, Bratsch had taken as many honors and AP classes as she could possibly fill her schedule with, and at times it took a toll on her, consuming such a large amount of her day that she barely had time for doing the things she enjoyed. She would have hours of homework on top of dancing and her other various extracurricular activities.
After years of learning which methods work for her schedule, Bratsch has figured out how to balance school with sports and clubs. Taking fewer honors classes has reduced her workload and helped to clear up her schedule, as well as helping her feel less stressed.
“It’s way, way easier. My whole day basically ends after four hours because I have math first hour and then I have genetics, which is honors, and then I have AP Lit and then AP Spanish, and those are my only actual classes. So basically I get the bulk of my day done in the first four hours and then I have my last three hours to do the homework from those classes,” she said.
Bratsch decided to take some of the academic pressure off herself that she had experienced previously.
While she is still taking honors classes, she has decided to take fewer than she had in past years. Her less challenging courses have a smaller amount of work, so she is able to get her other work done in class after finishing her assignments.
In the past, Bratsch had taken so many challenging courses that the workload from school alone took up most of her time.
She had no extra time in any of her classes to do homework, so she was left to do it all at home.
On top of being inconvenient for her other commitments, this affected Bratsch mentally. She resorted to staying up late to finish homework after attending hours of dance practice and work. Putting less pressure on herself academically has allowed Bratsch to have time for activities while still having room for recreation and sleep in her schedule.
“I’ve been getting to sleep at an actual, reasonable time,” Bratsch said.
Getting her schedule down has taken time to perfect.
“I wasn’t very good at it last year because I took so many hard classes that I never really had a chance during the school day to get my work done… but this year I made sure that I had time to get everything done so that I would have time to work, and dance, and hang out with friends,” Bratsch said.
With a smaller workload, she experiences a considerably smaller amount of stress than she’s had in past years.
Now with more time, she can see friends over weekends, attend meetings for her various activities, and do what she loves most: dancing.
Bratsch has been dancing since age three, gradually advancing her skill and becoming a better dancer through years of long and hard practices.
She possesses a natural talent for dancing, but she has only gotten so far with it through dedication and hours of practicing.
As a freshman, she made varsity Sensations here at Central and she has since had a great effect on the team, inspiring the girls to do their best and helping to improve their dancing.
Bratsch loves all aspects of dancing, both for Sensations and for studio dance. She is grateful for the bonds she has made through dance with people she otherwise would not have met.
“I love the relationships I’ve made through the team That’s also a great thing, for sure,” Bratsch said.
She also enjoys the more competitive aspects of dance.
After dancing for the majority of her life, she has gotten used to the nerves brought on by performing and competing.
“I like competing and even like daytime football games and everything like that, just dancing in general. I love it,” Bratsch said.
When it comes to dance, Bratsch holds a characteristic that not many people have. She excels at something and she loves doing it more than almost anything else.
When looked at from an outside perspective, the extent of just how hard Bratsch works may not be evident. However, behind her charisma and almost always perfect perfromances is hours of practice and years of exerience.
Bratsch has dedicated a substantial amount of her life to dancing. Since starting high school, she spends almost four hours daily training for Sensations, between morning and after-school practices each week. On top of that, they spend three to four hours practicing on Sundays.
She has studio dance on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, adding up to almost 15 hours weekly plus at least 20 hours of Sensations practice.
Spending such a large portion of her life dancing shows just how persistent and tenacious she is, as well as her true dedication to dance.
She’s passionate about dance and she isn’t fazed by the competition. She typically competes in Chicago and at Nationals for Sensations each year and has four regional competitions a year for studio dance.
Bratsch has grown to love competing after years of doing it. She always puts her full effort into dance routines and motivates and improves the Sensations team, while improving the team’s performance at the same time.
Sensations coach and math teacher, Mrs. Roxanne Fetsch, describes Bratsch as a motivated and diligent dancer and role-model.
“When it comes to giving feedback and corrections, she’s not going to sugarcoat things, she’s going to tell you like it is. I think the team respects her, looks up to her because not only is she a phenomenal dancer, but she’s a hard worker. She’s got great work ethic. She’s dedicated, which are all the things we want in a Sensation,” Fetsch said.
Bratsch is always to-the-point when correcting her teammates, but does so in a way that helps them improve.
Without bringing the other girls down, she helps them work on what needs to be fixed and makes the team’s overall performance better.
Junior Mackenzie Ryan has been on varsity Sensations with Bratsch since last school year. She sees Bratsch as having a major impact on the team.
“She’s always motivational and she gets us to do our best even though sometimes our team gets tired. She’s always there to bring us up… I think that’s how our team got so far last year, honestly because she pushed us to do our best,” Ryan said.
Bratsch motivates all of the girls on the Sensations team so the team can always perform at its best, showing her true dedication to and passion for the Sensations team and dance itself.
Bratsch takes any chance she gets to dance and she wants to use it to lay the foundation for the rest of her life.
“I know that I want to dance in college… I’m looking for a school that has a good dance program so I can major in dance,” Bratsch said.
She’s so passionate about dance that she wants to spend the rest of her life doing it. She also wants to place some of her focus on Spanish after she graduates. as enjoys learning and speaking Spanish and has thought about teaching it after college.
When Spanish Honor Society was introduced at Central, Bratsch signed up as soon as she could. Missing the deadline last year due to being absent, Bratsch signed up for it immediately this year. She is anticipating what awaits her and is excited to advance her knowledge of the Spanish language and Hispanic culture.
Bratsch is focused in the classroom and puts a great amount of effort into her work.
Taking all honors classes in the past has allowed Bratsch to gain insight on how to manage her time regarding school. Bratsch always does the best of her ability on her assignments and studies hard for difficult tests.
Mrs. Fetsch, her algebra 3 teacher and Sensations coach, characterizes Bratsch as a wonderful student and hard worker.
“She’s a great student. She’s helpful to her classmates. She pays attention. She gets homework done. She does well on things. She participates. So not more I could ask for from a student,” Mrs. Fetsch said.
Bratsch’s dedication and hard work has led to her excelling in difficult classes and impressing teachers with the amount of effort she puts into everything she does.
Bratsch is able to give all her effort to each thing she does. Bratsch never lets one aspect of her life fall behind.
Mrs. Fetsch remarks on this chacteristic.
“She is able to dedicate a hundred percent to everything she does. Even though she’s involved in so much, she’s able to find that good time management and balance,” Mrs. Fetsch said.