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Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD

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Natalie Honl

  • PSJA North Early College High School, Class of 2021

    Associate Degree in Computer Science from South Texas College

    Plans to Attend: University of Houston
    Major: English, Computer Science

    What are your goals and aspirations?

    I aspire to be a storyteller of the 21st century. I want to write the stories that shape our world and the lives of the people around me through the digital languages. Young people today are in a world where we can talk to anyone anywhere across the world. We are connected in ways never thought possible 18 years ago when I was born. While the world will continue to change and speed up, our lives need story and direction to keep future generations frombeing lost in a world of technology. We need to connect with each other in human ways even when people’s faces are lost behind screens in order to heal our world. I will help people develop empathy for each other and heal the pain that has become all too divisive. As a young person, I have always loved reading stories and poems to other kids. Whether it was creating my own or reading books out loud dramatically. I watched people’s eyes light up as they got drawn into the worlds I created was something that brought me and my audience immense joy.

    As I got older, I realized that my stories helped my friends and others around me heal wounds and grow closer together. So now I create poetry and stories that dive headfirst into my history and my problems so that other’s who have gone through something similar can find some peace of mind knowing they are not alone. Long ago people sat around campfires, or in living rooms telling stories to help those around them to cope with and make sense out of the world. To this point, technology gives us access to more people across the world, but in many ways, it has separated us too. So I believe it is through stories and the new mediums that technology gives us we can heal those divides and bring us together in ways never possible in the past.


    • UIL State Theatrical Design Finalist in Set Design
    • UIL Poetry Regional Competitor & Winner
    • UIL Computer Science District Competitor
    • UIL Persuasive Speaker District Competitor 
    • UIL Informative Speaking District Competitor & Winner
    • Texas Forensic League Program Oral Interp Semi-Finalist
    • Texas Forensic League Dramatic Interp 3rd Place
    • UIL Freshman One-Act Play All Star Cast Award
    • UIL Technical Design Competitor in Costume Design
    • 4 Years UIL Film/two years with films to State Semi-Finals
    • Battle of the Books District and Regionals Winner
    • 4-Year Regional VASE Gold Drape Medalist

    What has Early College done for you?

    The PSJA Early College has helped me obtain a head start on my dreams to create games by allowing me to earn my Associate Degree in Computer Science while still in high school. This really helps make things easier in college as now instead of being tied to only one major in college, I can pursue my dreams and double major. It also allowed me to explore computer science and find that I really have a love for it, and as a female, we are often told that coding and computers are a boys' world. Having a female coding college professor opened a whole new world for me that I may never have found if I did not have the PSJA Early College Program. Mrs. Quiroz is an inspiration and a mentor who forever changed my life and for that, I am eternally grateful.

    One final area I want to address was how PSJA’s Capstone project made a huge impact on my life. I have always written poetry and created art to share my stories with friends and family. Through the Capstone Project, I found my voice, wrote a book of poetry and had it published. That is something few high school students or even adults accomplish in their lives. While I had planned to be promoting it and performing it in live spoken word venues this year, COVID put that part of my dream on hold. However, I was able to perform my poetry through PSJA North UIL where I qualified for the Regional competition. Heading off to Houston, I will continue to pursue that dream and tell my stories to the world. 

    How was your experience at PSJA?
    Placing me in PSJA schools was the greatest decision my parents ever made. Starting out in the dual-language classes of Kelly-Pharr Elementary and later Liberty Middle School gave me both the lifelong advantage of being biliterate, and an appreciation for cultural diversity. In middle school, I was given the opportunity to explore multiple fine arts and UIL activities including Orchestra, Visual Arts, Dance, Theatre, Prose and Poetry interpretation to really find my passions to pursue later in high school. Stepping on the PSJA North Campus felt like home from the first moment there because theatre at PSJA connects elementary and middle school students with the high schools through the annual Children’s Show. We grow up seeing our dreams on that stage and get to join that dream if we choose to as early as 6th grade. The Children’s Show at PSJA North had over 150 people from every activity on campus coming together as one big family. Actors, cheerleaders, band student, goth kids, football players, dancers, choir singer, geeks, techies, and every label you could place on students would separate people in other environments, but at PSJA ISD, we were all one big family that came together to create magic Children’s Theatre for the youngest children of our community.

    PSJA North Early College High school was safe and open space where we are encouraged to thrive. Unlike the way high schools are portrayed in movies, with cliques and stereotypes, the campus culture of PSJA North encouraged everyone to treat each other as equals. It also helped me find my passion for telling stories through acting, writing, art and theatrical design. In fact, PSJA North Early College High School was named the State UIL Theater Champion my freshman year. At PSJA North we are encouraged to explore all our interests including academics, clubs, fine arts and sports, and to have our lives enriched with a diverse population that is inclusive rather than exclusive like much of the world is portrayed.

    What would you like to say to your PSJA Family?
    Thank you! My PSJA family provided me amazing opportunities, a way to find my passion, and a loving staff that cares about me and my future. Without some of my teachers, I would have given up on subjects like Math and Spanish. This family provided me with the strength, dreams and direction to help me make the world a better place, and I hope that those who come after me will be able to have as many opportunities as I had. Continue to grow as a family and take care of each other. Inspire future generations and let every year be better than the one that came before. As every parent strives for their children to live better than their own, PSJA is making all of our lives and futures a brighter place to live in. For all that I am eternally grateful. Thank you!