Fourth grade was a momentous year for Brayden Haas at Kehrs Mill Elementary
Haas, part of the Marquette High
Class of 2020, switched from violin to viola that year at the suggestion of orchestra teacher Laura Holzen. Eight years later, Haas still plays the viola and hopes to minor in music in college after furthering his tutelage under Marquette orchestra director James Nacy.
That was also the year Haas had Heidi Metz as his classroom teacher.
"She would have us research metamorphic rocks and random things outside of class. That really got me interested in math and science," he said. "I really felt like you can go above and beyond what we do in class and learn what you want to learn."
Haas is carrying that love of the STEM disciplines to the University of Illinois, where he plans to major in computer engineering. He sees that subject as the perfect blend of specializing in both hardware and software.
"In all my physics and chemistry classes, seeing how batteries work and setting up circuits has always been cool for me. How a computer physically works seems very interesting," Haas said. "I also like the software part because I've taken AP Computer Science, where we coded in Java, and then I took C++ programming this year. So I have two languages now."
At Marquette, Haas was part of the orchestra, Tri-M music honor society, the Key Club service organization, National Honor Society, track and cross country teams and Model United Nations. In Model UN, he represented countries such as Azerbaijan, Angola and Montenegro at conferences and was voted Delegate of the Day by his fellow students at three of the eight conferences he attended.
During the final semester of his senior year – before the COVID-19 shutdown – Haas also made a name for himself at Marquette by wearing a different costume to school every day.
"It was so much fun getting to see everybody's reaction to my outfits," said Haas, who attended Kehrs Mill, Crestview Middle
and Marquette from first grade through graduation. "This was definitely my favorite year of high school. I felt like I could blossom as a person. I felt like I wasn't as defined by grades, but by my personality and getting to meet people."