Jr. Ashlanders: Sonora Mindling-Werling

Whether drawing, cooking or writing, Sonora Mindling-Werling seeks adventure in her creative outlets. The 12-year-old Willow Wind student has a sunny outlook on life and an appreciation of people and the world around her that goes beyond her years.

Teachers and friends are struck by her imagination, innerstrength and belief in the goodness that others can bring to the world.

"I think of Sonora as a young woman who thinks for herself, who is, and will always be, a creative and thoughtful person, who has a strong sense of self and strong innercompass," family friend Gretchen Vos said. "Sonora can create a dragon with moving parts out of duct tape and cardboard, she experiments with fun costuming and has the focus to research a topic and write a serious essay."

"That Sonora already has such a strong and kind character at the age of 12 fills me with hope for the future, and joy and amazement," Vos added.

The young artist and writer took some time to talk with the Daily Tidings about the things she enjoys, helping the environment and her life in Ashland and Mexico.

DT: What are your favorite subjects in school?

M-W: I like writing because it is a great way to make up stories. I also like reading — it takes me to other places.

DT: Do you have a favorite book?

M-W: My favorite books are the "Immortals Quartet" by Tamora Pierce. I like all her books.

DT: What do you like to do outside of school?

M-W: I play the violin and I have an art class. I like to explore and read, and especially I like to make up creatures and draw them.

DT: What is something most people don't know about you that you would like them to know?

M-W: Most people don't know that I am very interested in cooking. Even though I am a picky eater, I love to make new food, old food, red food, blue food, like Dr. Seuss (laughs), if it looks good, of course. Another thing is that I lived in Mexico for nine years. We have 2.7 acres of land in the country and are surrounded by mountains and trees. It is so awesome. We have a horse, five cats and two dogs. We used to have chickens but a band of 20 dogs ate them all.

DT: Do you have trouble balancing school and your outside interests?

M-W: No, not really. I have a great schedule, with plenty of free time.

DT: What do you want to do when you grow up?

M-W: I want to be an author so I can write and illustrate my very own books.

DT: Tell us about something you have done that makes you proud.

M-W: I ride my bike to school almost every day, unless it is very, very rainy. I am proud that I am helping the environment by not driving.

DT: Talk about someone who inspires you.

M-W: My art teacher, Craig Honeycutt. He is so good at art and he inspires me to work on my drawings and make them even better.

DT: Talk about someone in your family who makes you proud.

M-W: I am very proud of my great-grammie. She is 93; she will be 94 in December. She walks and drives around fine and is as fit on the inside as a 70-year-old. She is interested in things and always has time to talk about stuff. I am very proud of her.