Moffat County grad Alexa Neton keeping a song in her heart on her way to college
For Craig Press
We could all use a little bit more music in our lives, and though it won’t be the only thing she’ll be focusing on in the next phase of her life, Alexa Neton will be experiencing plenty of harmony.
The Moffat County High School graduate and co-valedictorian of the Class of 2021 will be moving along to Regis University on dual scholarships to cover her expenses at the prestigious Jesuit institution in Denver.
The arrangement shows Neton’s distinction in academic achievement — for which she will be honored with a Presidential Scholarship intending for meritorious incoming freshmen — as well as her excellence in the field of music with a talent scholarship.
“I’m super grateful for my parents and all my teachers because it’s so expensive to go to college and now mine has been paid for,” Neton said. “I can’t even put it into words how thankful I am for the people who helped me get where I am.”
As part of Regis’s music program, Neton will sing among two choirs as well as receiving private vocal lessons individually.
“I’m really excited about that because it’s something I would already love to do, and I get to do it for free,” she said. “I’m sure it’ll be a lot more advanced. In high school, we get to work on our music every day with Mrs. Alberico, but in college it will only be once a week. It’s a lot more learning music on your own time, which we still do in high school, but in college I think I’ll primarily be teaching it to myself, of course I’ll have help if I need it.”
Grace Alberico, the vocal and drama teacher for MCHS and Craig Middle School, has been part of Neton’s musical journey since junior high.
“I’m really proud of Alexa for all that she’s done and showing the community her dedication. She’s been an asset for us since eighth-grade, and she’s always willing to take risks and shine and lead and now it’s really paying off for her,” Alberico said. “It takes a lot to get a music scholarship, and I’m excited for the community to see there’s a continuation of what we do here. It’s not just in high school, there’s so much more.”
Neton, in turn, said Alberico has inspired and that she felt “super-lucky” to have the same instructor for so long.
“When I watch her do her job, she’s so good at it, and she’s helped me grow so much. I love choir so much, and sometimes I think about becoming a music teacher. Even if I don’t, I think music teachers are amazing,” she said.
At Regis, she’ll be nearby another familiar musical influence: her older sister Molly, who earned a scholarship for her proficiency as an oboist.
“She’s actually going to be living in my building,” she said. “It should be interesting, but I think it’ll be really nice.”
Singing in multiple ensembles with different styles is something Neton has already experienced, including varied roles as needed.
“In a cappella, I’m an alto, and in women’s choir, I’m a soprano 1, and I’ve also been a soprano 2. In college, one of them will be a women’s choir and the other is a mixed choir. It’s basically what I’m in right now, except it won’t be a cappella,” she said.
Though Neton said she might consider shifting her focus in the coming years, music will only be her minor at Regis as she also pursues a degree in psychology.
She cited an interest in the treatment of mental health issues and the importance of spreading awareness about it as her motivation.
“I think a wound on your heart or your soul is just as traumatic and sometimes even more painful than a physical injury,” she said.
She’d like to become a therapist for teens or children, with her own therapy sessions inspiring her to pay it forward to other young people struggling with emotional and mental problems.
“I have a big place in my heart for people who struggle with mental illness. I think there need to be more therapists, more psychiatrists, more people to help treat it,” she said. “In the world right now, it is recognized but not as much as it should be and there’s still a huge stigma around it.”
With the way her college education will be configured, Neton said she would love to merge the two fields of study.
“I’ve always felt like music has been an outlet, and something I’ve considered going into is music therapy. That would combine two of my biggest passions,” she said. “Music therapy helps people with disabilities or PTSD and trauma because it can be calming and relaxing. It can also be for blind people or deaf people, and it can be as simple as letting them feel music. There’s no one thing that it does, there’s a ton of different things.”
Though music has played a significant part in Neton’s high school years, she’s been well-rounded in other activities. Besides a stint with the girls soccer team, she competed all four years at MCHS in the swim program.
Despite the on-site pool being closed by Moffat County School District in 2018 due to financial concerns, Neton and her teammates went all the way to state each season, including the more condensed event this year that saw stricter qualification requirements to limit crowd sizes with COVID concerns.
The swim world and music worlds collided occasionally; she performed the national anthem at state in 2020 and at the conference championships this year.
Neton also lent her voice to the MCHS theater program in a supporting role in 2018’s production of “Cinderella” and as the star of 2019’s “The Wizard of Oz.”
While somewhat disappointed the fall musical couldn’t take place for 2020, she was at peace with it after playing her ideal role a year earlier.
“I ended as Dorothy. How can you do better than that? I can’t complain,” she said.
As far as her other schoolwork, a phenomenal GPA throughout her time in school garnered her the honor of valedictorian, which she’ll share with Caleb Frink.
Neton noted that being at the top of the class was something she strove for from the start.
“That was my one goal in high school, and I accomplished it,” she said.
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