Wanted by Evergreen Park girl: career mixing art, FBI work
BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI Correspondent August 10, 2014 1:52PM
Nora Berry, of Evergreen Park High School, hopes to work for the FBI and investigate art theft. | Supplied photo by Libby McArthur
Updated: September 12, 2014 6:25AM
When it comes to cool dream jobs, Nora Berry’s choice might be described as “most wanted,” at least by her. The goal at the top of her list is to work in the art theft division of the FBI.
A senior-to-be at Evergreen Park High School, Berry, 17, plans to major in art history in college. Her theory is that she loves art but doesn’t think she is skilled enough to make a living as an artist.
“I wanted to look at other ways to stay involved and sustain myself, and that’s where art history came in. I like history as well, so it all seemed to fit,” Berry said.
She may be underestimating herself. Berry is self-taught in art.
“I was drawing ever since I was a little kid, and I kept up an interest with it. I kept drawing and picking things up from different people and learned how to do things better,” she said.
Berry, who likes to work with graphite or oil paints, learned different techniques and improved.
“I like a lot about it. I like the different styles,” she said. “I wish I could create all those styles, but I can’t. I like how it expresses people and emotions from specific time periods where they were from. It is a personal glimpse into people’s lives.”
After she graduates, she’d like to attend the American University of Rome in Italy.
“There isn’t a better place to study art history than in the center of where it all happened,” she said.
If that doesn’t work out, her second choice is Southeast Missouri State University.
“They have a really rare art program in art restoration that is offered at only two schools, so I’d like to go there,” she said.
Berry became interested in working with the FBI when she was researching careers she could land with an art degree.
“I randomly came across it and it seemed really interesting,” she said. “I decided that is something I’d really like to do with my life. It is unique and it interests me.”
Berry, who speaks fluent French, was born in Montreal and moved to the United States when she was 14 with her mother, Robyn House.
“My mom was getting married and I had the option of staying in Montreal or coming to the U.S.,” she said. “There were a lot of opportunities here so I decided to move.”
Since moving to Evergreen Park, where she lives with her mother and stepfather, Tony Michlek, Berry has made a lot of adjustments but admits she likes living here a lot.
What does she miss most?
“Speaking French, but my mother speaks French and we talk a lot and I take French here,” she said. “I’ll be the first student at Evergreen Park High School to take the advanced-placement French test.”
It also took her time to get accustomed to the area, the street signs and learn how people deal with one another.
“People are a lot more talkative and friendly here, and I wasn’t used to that,” Berry said. “This is a smaller city and I was used to living in the big city.”
In addition to art, another of her passions is competitive cheerleading, something she’s been involved in since age 10. She now competes through All-Star Athletics in Tinley Park.
Making her transition to the United States easier has been her art teacher, Sandy Safranek.
“She has helped me with a lot of techniques in the year that I have spent at Evergreen Park High School,” Berry said. “She has helped me improve and get my portfolio where it needs to be. Otherwise, I pull different things from different people.”
Berry is looking forward to taking more art classes in the coming school year, including art history and AP drawing. She also has applied to be an art aide so she can work in the art department.
“I want to be able to accomplish all of what I want to,” Berry said. “It is very unique, very different and not a lot of people think I can do it because I’m not from around here. They think I’m weird or strange because of that and knowing that pushes me to go for my goals. I want to prove that I can do what I want and it doesn’t matter that I came from a different country.”