Focusing in on Dani



Music and nature, could it get better?

Enjoying her day in the sunny sites of Bloomington, Danielle Castaneda, 12, awaits the beautiful day. “Nature is something that I will always love and will be in tune with,” said Castaneda.

Sidney Smith

Personality Portfolio on Danielle Castaneda

     Potstickers, Law and Order, and bad guitar playing. Welcome to the life of Danielle Castaneda, 17 year old that always sees the bigger picture, even when it seems pointless.

     Growing up with no siblings, Castaneda had to occupy herself with something. That something was engulfing herself with music and nature. With her dad playing Bob Marley to Jimi Hendrix whenever she was around, her music taste became very eclectic very fast. As she grew older, she opened up by playing the saxophone, then piano, and finally ending with guitar. She soon realized that as much as she loved music, it wasn’t in her best interest to try and play them.

     “Whenever I would practice, my parents always told me I was doing great, so when i would play for my friends I thought I was the next Beethoven. I was very wrong,” Castaneda said.

     When she’s not inside listening to music, you can find her outside taking pictures of trees or the sky. Although Merrillville is far from being rural, she grew up in a little corner of that had seven acres. Being around nature most of her life, it became something she held very close to her heart. During summer evenings, she will sit outside on the porch and watch the sunset, while during the fall Castaneda will go in her backyard and watch the leaves change.

     “Nature is something that I feel everyone should be in tune with. If I’m stressed I usually will just go outside for a walk and by the time I’m back I feel so much better,” Castaneda said.

     The city life, which is far from nature and calmness, is another thing that Castaneda loves. Only an hour away from Chicago, she’ll often take the train with her best friend and will spend the day walking around shopping and adventuring. She is also very big into traveling. Since the city life attracts her so much, New York is her favorite place to be.

     “Being in the city makes me feel alive. It ignites something in me that makes me want to explore and be involved with everything around me,” said Castaneda.

As she continues to evolve with her surroundings, Castaneda plans to continue to stay true to what matters most to her. She plans to attend Indiana University in the fall of 2018, and major in Microbiology. Although she’s afraid that she will become homesick, she said she would keep herself occupied by exploring and always trying to find new music.

“I’m ready to start a new journey in my life and discover so much I couldn’t at home,”said Castaneda.