Student Spotlight: Rachael Nadler

(From left to right) Maria Buchakjian, Ava Khachardourian, Rachael Nadler and Michaela Schaffer stand in front of a mural at Acadia Middle School on Jan. 15. Buchakjian, Khachardourian and Schaffer organized a fundraiser to help Nadler's family pay for medications. Nadler was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis shortly after birth.CADY KUZMICH/GAZETTE REPORTER (From left to right) Maria Buchakjian, Ava Khachardourian, Rachael Nadler and Michaela Schaffer stand in front of a mural at Acadia Middle School on Jan. 15. Buchakjian, Khachardourian and Schaffer organized a fundraiser to help Nadler's family pay for medications. Nadler was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis shortly after birth.


CLIFTON PARK — Shenendehowa eighth grader, Rachael Nadler, is considering turning her love of anime and retro cartoons into a career in art.

Nadler, 13, is one of five children — with one older sister, two younger sisters and one baby brother. The Nadler’s have lived in Clifton Park since 1999 when Rachael’s parents, Todd, a Director of Corporate Operations for Tingue Brown & Company, and Allyson, a Registered Nurse, bought a house in the area.

On top of all the typical confusions and hassles that are part of life as a 13-year old girl, Nadler has another set of obstacles to overcome.

Shortly after birth, Nadler was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis.

In an article published in The Daily Gazette’s Student Gazette on May 22, Rachael Nadler’s younger sister Samantha, discussed Cystic Fibrosis and what it means to live with it. She explained, “Cystic fibrosis, or CF, is a disease that creates too much mucus in the lungs and other organs of the body like the intestines, the pancreas and the liver. It can also come with repeated lung infection.”

She noted, “Years ago, most kids with CF didn’t live long enough to go to elementary school. Today, they can live to their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond.”

While some kids Rachael’s age likely roll out of bed at the last possible minute before catching the bus to school, Nadler gets up around 5 a.m. or 5:30 a.m. in order to fit all her treatments and medications in before school. The routine takes up about an hour and a half of her morning each day.” I barely sleep at night anyway,” she said. Adding, “ I’m more of a nocturnal kind of girl.”

She also uses a vibrating vest designed to loosen up the mucus in her lungs so that she can clear her lungs more easily.

Still, Nadler says it “isn’t so bad.” Despite her diagnosis, Nadler has maintained a GPA of at least 90 for the last several years, according to her mother.

Nadler’s optimistic outlook and determination to live life to the fullest have inspired a few of her classmates to organize a fundraiser to help with the cost of her many medications. The fundraiser’s organizers, Ava Khachardourian, Michaela Schaffer and Maria Buchakjian have known Nadler since kindergarten.

Liza Reif, a school counselor at Acadia Middle School said the fundraiser reached its goal of selling 200 t-shirts, raising a total of approximately $1,000 for the Nadler family.

Before insurance, Nadler’s medications cost between $5000 and $5500 each month, depending on the medications she is on at the time. Since the family participates in a Saratoga County program called “Care at Home,” insurance covers $4500 to $5000 of the cost each month. The family also receives some relief from Medicaid.

Rachel’s mother noted the family does pay about $200 each month for over the counter medication and medication not covered by insurance.

Your Clifton Park sits down with Rachael Nadler to discuss art, rap music and her proudest moments.


CK: Your sister, Samantha, wrote a story about your experience with Cystic Fibrosis in the Youth Gazette back in May. What are your thoughts on her story?
RN: She’s got the future of a writer ahead of her! I can tell you that.

CK: Are there any specific clubs or activities you’re involved in?
RN: I’m in the anime club.

CK: Do you have a favorite anime film or favorite director?
RN: I don’t know– I don’t usually play favorites.

CK: What are you most passionate about and why?
RN: I absolutely love art. I have two sketchbooks. I got a bunch of coloring supplies, like coloring pencils, this Christmas. Usually when I’m not busy on “A” days, I spend most of my study halls in the Art teacher’s room, Mr. Green’s room, just so I can do some drawing or in case he needs help.

CK: Can you explain why you enjoy spending time in the art room with Mr. Green?
RN: He’s a really nice guy. He really appreciates my unique style of art and my personality. He really gets me.

CK: Is there a specific type of art you like more than others?
RN: My laptop broke on Christmas so that kind of eliminates digital art, but I always found traditional art easier anyway. You actually have more control over where your drawing goes.

CK: Do you have any ideas for what you might want to do after high school?
RN: I’m thinking of taking up a career as an art teacher, or maybe just drawing comics or pictures. I have a DeviantArt account, so that kind of starts things off. It’s like an online social media website where you can create and share art with other users.

CK: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
RN: I guess not much would change. I would still be drawing and I would still be with my family a lot. I would still be doing a lot of things I really like to do… Having a lot of passion and a lot of determination to live out my dreams.

CK: Do you have a favorite movie or a book?
RN: I don’t usually watch a lot of movies or read a lot of books, but I do like Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks.

CK: Do you ever think of animating for Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks one day?
RN: Maybe. A teacher told me I have my own distinct style, unique style… So, who knows, maybe I could do my own animations.

CK: I know you don’t like to play favorites, but… do you have a favorite band or musician?
RN: Well, I don’t usually listen to music, but I like a lot of rap.

CK: Any specific rap artists?
RN: I like Eminem.

CK: If you had an extra hour in the day what would you do?
RN: Well, I’d probably be drawing or listening to music. Heck, I might even just be on the internet.

CK: Is there a specific website you like to surf?
RN: DeviantArt and Youtube are my personal favorites.

CK: If you could vote in the presidential election, who would you vote for?
RN: I don’t really pay too much attention to the presidential election. I don’t really know who I’d be voting for to be honest. I couldn’t even stay up late enough to watch the State of the Union!

CK:What are you most proud of… a specific moment, achievement or drawing?
RN: Well, if I have to be honest. I guess I’m really, really proud of all my friends. When I was in third grade I didn’t think a lot of people cared about me because I was so different from everyone else, but as I grew up I didn’t even have to try to fit in. There’s no such thing as normality or perfection. Everyone is unique. Everyone has that special spark inside them and you don’t have to keep it in. You just have to let it go and share it with everyone else. That’s what I’ve been doing – sharing my talents and interests with my friends. It’s really nice to see they care about me and accept me for who I am.

CK: Are some of those friends you mentioned the ones who are putting this fundraiser together?
RN: Yeah! It was real nice of them. It was really thoughtful.



Reach Gazette reporter Cady Kuzmich at 269-7239 or