Mikayla Neu follows her passion for music


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TOWAMENCIN – Growing up, North Penn High School sophomore, Mikayla Neu was always told to follow her passion, whatever it was at the time. When something caught her attention, she would drop everything to follow it, lighting a spark within her that couldn’t be diminished. Her love of music, however, didn’t just light a spark – it started a burning flame.

From a young age, Neu’s immediate draw to music and the arts helped determine what she would spend her time doing. Whether it was theater, dance, writing, or playing the French Horn, she spent every moment of free time working hard to pursue what she loved.

Even though she chose what she wanted to focus her attention on, Neu also had the added pressure of performing in front of her parents on a daily basis.

“I feel like, because of the fact that my parents are educators, that I’m placed under a certain kind of category – that I’m expected to do well. Since my parents are teachers, I’m expected to be an exceptional student,” she noted.

I feel like, because of the fact that my parents are educators, that I’m placed under a certain kind of category – that I’m expected to do well. Since my parents are teachers, I’m expected to be an exceptional student.”

— Mikayla Neu

In all, Neu has 3 family members working in the North Penn School District. Her mom is a science teacher at Penndale, her dad is the band director at Pennbrook, and her uncle is a science teacher at Pennbrook. Going to Pennbrook for 3 years, she attended her father’s band class each day, striving to impress not only her peers, but him.

“I’ve been raised to appreciate the education that I have, and I’ve grown up with a strict set of morals, for example, you have to earn what you get. In life, you don’t always have what you want put right in front of you. That life lesson definitely applied to my life at school, with my family always there,” said Neu.

Although life can sometimes be a little difficult for her regarding growing up in the same district that her parents teach in, she recognizes that if it wasn’t for them, she wouldn’t be in the place she is today.

“It started out in fourth grade, and my dad wanted me to play an instrument. And I was kind of like ‘I’m not sure if that’s really something I want to do’, and he said we should just try it out. So my band teacher asked me to make a checklist of the top three instruments I wanted to play, and I still remember to this day the top three in what order. My top instrument, believe it or not, was flute. And my second option was trumpet, making my third option the French Horn,” she reminisced.

Despite being her last option, Neu found that the French Horn spoke to her the most out of the three. She started on it quickly, and since then, she’s played in many school concerts, shows, and performances. She even took her skills outside of the auditorium and into the field.

“The Marching Knights is a select group of elite students who were brought together to create an experience for an audience, and also to grow stronger as musicians. I joined it because a teacher asked me repeatedly, about two years ago, if it would be something I wanted to do. I was still on the fence until he told me this: ‘I think the question you really need to ask yourself is if you’re ready.’ I went to my first summer band camp after the school year had ended – from the first day I was there up until the last performance, I loved it,” said Neu.

In all, Marching Knights has been her best experience yet. Putting in long hours of practice almost daily was the hardest part for her, but it is certainly paying off. Recently, the Marching Knights won the state championship for their region, resulting in a huge victory for the whole team.

The transition from middle school to high school isn’t always easy, but Neu’s urge to compete and improve her skills made the ride a little bit smoother. Only a sophomore, Neu has quickly made herself stand apart from the 3,000 plus people at North Penn High School, and she plans to continue the streak for the rest of her high school career.

“To hear the applause and cheers from people, it brings joy. When you listen to what their response is… they loved your performance. Even if you didn’t place first, but you knew your performance was stellar – it brings tears to your eyes and a smile to your face. And those are things that stay with you forever,” reflected Neu.