Influencing Young People One at a Time

Cheyenne Doss, Makayla Braile and Nikki Casteel discuss Breakdown STL affecting young people’s lives.


LHS publications

Makayla Braile, Cheyenne Doss and Nikki Casteel are the three Liberty students who participated in Breakdown St. Louis.

Alyssa Bailey, Reporter

Growing up as a teenager is already difficult with the ups and downs that come through our paths, but for seniors Cheyenne Doss, Makayla Braile and Nikki Casteel, they have been able to navigate through life with the help of Breakdown St. Louis.

Breakdown STL performed in front of the Liberty student body Sept. 28 in the auditorium. The show provided health education with the help of performances of real-life scenarios with music, dramas, dances and motivational speakers. To each of these three Liberty dancers, this program provides them with different benefits for their life.

Breakdown STL is a non-profit organization travels to numerous high schools and helps empower the students and equip teens with making positive life choices.

Braile talks about this organization’s benefits and that it’s almost like a second family.

“To me, it’s kind of like a family environment for people that I feel very comfortable around,” Braile said. “I can share my stories that I’ve heard from other people and they’re very accepting of what everyone has to stay. There’s no judgement, so I just feel like it’s a very welcoming environment. It’s like a second family, almost. I know people will say that about a lot of different groups, but these people are just like encouraging, always there for you, always wanting to see you do your best in life, so that’s pretty cool.”

Braile, Doss and Casteel were first introduced to Breakdown STL in a very similar way, by a common friend that graduated as of last year, Courtney Collier.

Two years ago, Collier and a few other dancers from her studio dance were a part of Breakdown. “I actually found out about it from a close friend and they needed more people on their dance team, and they were recruiting people so that’s how I found out about it,” Casteel said. “So then, I tried out and got on the team – it wasn’t really what I expected, at first, because I didn’t really know what I was trying out for. But I’ve been on it for three years now and I really like it.”

Collier and Casteel have also expressed their passion of Breakdown STL to Braile, which pushed her to try out for the very first time as of two years ago.

All three seniors were excited for students at Liberty and more schools to hear about this and get involved in the movement.

“It’s so exciting – it’s a super cool thing to be a part of, it just makes you feel really great. I get a little nervous for presentations, especially this one because it will be our school and it’s the first one of the year,” Doss said. “It’s super exciting, and it’s really sweet when people tell you how much of an impact you have made on their lives.”

In the same way, Braile and Casteel go on to say how their excitement is mixed a bit with their nervousness, especially since it’s a new experience but it’s inspiring to be a part of.

“I do get nervous every performance just because it’s a new school and I don’t know how the students will react because it’s a different reaction every time,” Casteel said.