Roan Mountain teen tackles a wide variety of educational opportunities

Published 3:34 pm Monday, July 2, 2018

For one local student, staying organized and knowing how to schedule are the keys to success with her busy life.

Audrey Elise Nidiffer, at the age of 14, has an incredible passion for learning and a drive to enjoy her life as much as she possibly can.

In addition to being a student, Audrey is active in her church, performs ballet, is an aspiring magician, is involved in community theater, enjoys participating in Carter County 4-H, quilting, and could one day see herself becoming a writer.

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With so much going on in her life, Audrey said the keys to pulling it all off are scheduling, organization, and being able to focus.

Throughout her education, Audrey has primarily been homeschooled. This year, she began integrating into the Carter County School System by taking her science and foreign language classes at Cloudland High School.

“I think going to a public school, even just part-time, has been a new experience, a good one,” Audrey said. Having the social interactions with the other students and not being the only person in the classroom has been an enjoyable experience, according to Audrey.

Plus, going to a public school has some advantages over being homeschooled, Audrey said. “You don’t actually get out for the summer in homeschool,” she said with a laugh.

During a time of year when many students are enjoying lazier days, Summer for Audrey is often filled with a bustle of activity and new educational experiences. This year, Audrey completed an internship as part of the School of the New York Times Summer Academy. During the program, Audrey joined a select group of students from around the world in learning about the world of journalism from one of the most widely-recognized names in the industry.

According to information from the New York Times on the program, “Our NYC Summer Academy gives intellectually curious high school students the opportunity to live and learn in New York City while studying topics in journalism, media, technology, arts, culture, sports, fashion, business, science and more. Each two-week course draws on the expertise and unrivaled access of The New York Times and encourages students to take their learning beyond the classroom and into the real world.” Audrey attended a portion of the program on arts, food, and culture, which was in session from June 10 through June 22.

One of Audrey’s passions is literature, and she enjoys both reading it and writing. Through a literary analysis course she took, Audrey helped to author a script for a mini-series based on the classic novel Jane Eyre. After reading the book, Audrey said she and other students in the program watched a movie adaptation but were disappointed that so many parts of the book were left out. Their instructor allowed them to write a script for a mini-series based on the novel as a class project.

Audrey enjoys writing and said her favorite things to write are analytical essays. “I also enjoy writing stories, short stories mainly,” she added.

In addition to her love of literature, Audrey has a passion for performing.

At the age of 4, she began taking ballet and is approaching her fourth year of performing pointe. She also studied jazz and tap dancing.

Those early years of dance recitals helped her to build her confidence, Audrey said.

“When you’re little, you don’t think about it,” she said about performing in front of crowds.

In addition to ballet, Audrey is also involved with a community theater program just across the line in North Carolina and has performed in several plays. While working a performance schedule into all of the other items she has on her plate can be difficult, Audrey said she enjoys the experience and can make it work.

“When I’m doing a show, since it’s professional theater, I have to do an audition,” she said. “Then, if they decide to use me, they will give me the dates, and I’m able to plan around it.”

With being only 14 years old, there is still time for Audrey to begin planning for her future education or career, but the teen is considering trying to pursue her passions.

“I either want to go into theater and get a minor in creative writing or maybe major in psychology,” said Audrey. “Theater is something I enjoy doing.”

Audrey Nidiffer is the daughter of Brent and Juanita Nidiffer of Roan Mountain. Brent serves as the pastor for Roan Mountain United Methodist Church.