Oak Lawn High School junior to perform lead role in ‘Grease’
BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI Correspondent October 19, 2012 1:32PM
Emily Salomone, 17, a junior at Oak Lawn Community High School, is ranked 19th in her class and has the lead role of Sandy in the school’s fall musical “Grease.” | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 23, 2012 6:01AM
Like many students, Emily Salomone started her high school career at the bottom rung of the ladder. Today, after just three years, she’s at the top.
She began her academic career at Oak Lawn Community High School as an eighth-grader in the school’s honors math program. At that point, no one could have predicted the success she would enjoy in high school — in and outside of the classroom.
“Emily excelled from that point forward and has continued to thrive in all of our honors programs across all the curriculums,” Assistant Principal Joseph McCurdy said.
Salomone, 17, a junior, is ranked 19th in a class of more than 500. In addition, she’s involved in a number of extracurricular activities. Most notably, she can be seen in the lead role of Sandy in the school’s musical production of “Grease” from Oct. 25 to 27.
“It is awesome; I’m so excited,” she said about her upcoming performance.
But it didn’t used to be that way.
“I used to be really nervous about singing,” she said.
Salomone got involved with theater productions at age 8 when she performed in plays with the Oak Lawn Park District. She took to the stage at the prompting of her older sister, Terra, now 23.
“She was interested in theater and I looked up to her. I liked it a lot and stuck with it since then,” she said.
As a freshman in high school, Salomone joined choir.
“I started off in the lowest choir and took lessons with the choir teachers. I’ve obviously improved and now I’m in the Chamber Singers, the highest choir level at the school,” she said.
Salomone also is the vice president of the forensics team and an officer of the speech and theater groups. She has played major roles in the speech program including performances that finished second and fourth in the Illinois High School Association state drama group interpretation competition. She also performs individually in oratorical declamation.
In addition, she is a student helper and member of the tennis team.
Salomone, the daughter of Walter and Janet Salomone, of Oak Lawn, says her mother is her mentor.
“She has had to go through a lot to be successful in her life. She had a lot of problems in her teenage and young adult years. She says I can succeed in anything I want to as long as I work hard,” Salomone said.
Salomone has taken her mother’s advice to heart and works very hard, according to McCurdy.
“Emily raises those she works with to her level and classwork,” he said. “Performances and attitudes are all enhanced because of her. Emily truly possesses a kind and giving spirit and she is deserving of any and all recognition a person can give.”
After high school, she’d like to attend law school and pursue a career as a lawyer.
“I wanted to go into theater but it is a hard place to find a job in,” Salomone said. “Instead, I’ll use my speech skills in the legal field since I will have to talk in front of people and defend my point.”
Salomone said it is her will to succeed that keeps her focused on her goals.
“I want to do well in everything that I’m in,” she said. “I have to stay focused to do well in those things. I just like everything I’m in so I stay motivated through it all.”