My name is Emma Mandera. I'm a 16 year old junior from St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. I grew up with my mom and my two siblings, Shelby and Keiran. Shelby is my older red-headed sister and Keiran is my younger brother. In North Carolina, I have a few more siblings living with my dad. I have three sisters, Kameron, Melissa, and Cheyenne, and a brother named Shaun. They are all younger than me except for Kameron, who is older by a few years. The majority of my life was spent in St. Croix Falls, but I did live in Centuria for a few years. It was in those few years when I was young that I went to Unity for schooling. In first grade, my family moved to St. Croix Falls and I began my life as a Saint. I had a happy and carefree childhood. My brother and I played outside with the neighbor kids until our mom called us in every night. On the days I was inside, I spent time with my best friends on Animal Jam and Roblox. I also spent time with my cats. No matter what, there was always cats in our family. When I was younger, I had an orange cat named Oscar, a grey and white cat named Tony (affectionately called Big T), and for a time we had a tortoiseshell cat named Milkshake. When we moved again, a scruffy sweetheart of a barn cat named Thomas joined our family, then later a calico female named Muffin and a fluffy boy named Storm. Then we found a orange and white stray we named Jake, who had a litter of kittens with Muffin and gave us Peanut. By this time, Oscar and Big T had passed away. Muffin would pass away later, but our hearts were filled again when a tuxedo we named Lucy came into our lives. Lucy is my cat. She was found at the Fireworks store under a portapotty, and she's now a big part of my life. (If you can't tell, I really love my cats.)
I enjoy drawing and writing in my free time. Drawing is something I've done my entire life, and its accompanied me through every phase. I went from drawing Warriors and Animal Jam, to drawing cats and dogs, and then finally to drawing people. On every trip I've taken, there's been a sketchbook and a few pencils in my backpack. I also got a drawing tablet a few years ago to do digital art. Along with drawing, I've always been drawn to creative writing. While I haven't completed any solid stories, I love to come up with them in my head and (if I get to it) write them down. I remember making up stories about wolf packs with my best friends in elementary school when we were in that phase of wishing we were animals rather than people that everyone has. We were also heavily influenced by the Warriors series that we all read. Another hobby that's become a significant part of my life is playing video games. Skyrim and the Dragon Age series are games I hold close to my heart.
What motivates me is my family, friends, desire for success, and my cat Lucy. They push me to be the best version of my self and never give up. There's been many times where I wanted to give up or take the easy way out, but the people in my life and my own hopes help me keep going.
I don't have a set goal for my future yet. My plans have changed many times, and by next year they will likely change again. Though I don't have a job in mind, I do know that I want to be able to do something with art. Truthfully, I don't know if I will be able to make art my career since it isn't a high-paying one, though it's the one that would make me the happiest. My back-up plan of sorts is to go into the Air Force, have them pay for my college, make a ton of money, and then go into art. Otherwise, I think I might go for some Art degree and then either work with video game designers or be an illustrator. If it was dependable, I would be a freelance artist. However, a job like that isn't guaranteed so I wouldn't make it my main source of income and I would have it be a side job. Other than my career, in the future I want to be happy. I want to move out of Wisconsin and hopefully go South or on the West coast. Some states I had in mind were Texas and Washington. There's nothing set in stone though. I really just want to get away from here and never live in a small town again.
-Vincent Van Gogh