Oak Lawn teen savors science, and the stage
BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI Correspondent August 29, 2014 9:24PM
Caroline Azem, a senior at Richards High School, loves the stage but is considering studying biology or chemistry. | Supplied photo by Bob McParland
Updated: September 1, 2014 2:09AM
Caroline Azem is a talented performer.
She loves being on stage. At Richards High School in Oak Lawn, where she is a senior, she’s a member of Group Interpretation, the Laughing Aardvarks (the school’s improv group), drama club, fall play and speech.
She’s good, too. Last year, as a member of the Group Interpretation team, she went to state and placed fifth. She also was recognized as a member of the All-State Cast.
“My favorite activity is Group Interpretation because it is more of a family environment,” Azem said. “I get to work with my favorite coaches and I have my friends around me and we work together and have a lot of fun. It is more of a family experience than speech is, which is so individual.”
Still, she is looking forward this year to continuing her work with both speech and group interpretation.
“I’m anxious for this year because it’s my senior year and I will have a lot of fun and meet a lot of new people,” Azem said.
To sum it up, Azem has a passion for performing.
“I really like making people laugh,” she said. “That’s one of my favorite things, or emoting in general when you can make the audience feel a certain way. It is a very rewarding yet difficult thing to accomplish.”
Azem, 17, first knew she had a knack for it when, along with her sisters and her cousins, she would dress up and act out plays that they would record on video.
“We always had a flair for the dramatic when we were little,” said Azem, who is ranked fifth in her class and has earned Honors with Distinction, the highest academic honor a student can receive in Community High School District 218.
Not surprising, her mentors are her speech team coaches.
“Mr. Dennis Brumirski is an outside coach for speech and group interp,” she said. “He started coaching when I was a freshman and he was the first person that I worked with. He tried to get me to push myself out of my comfort zone. I was shy freshman year and he pushed me.”
She also credits Michael Badger, her English teacher and speech coach, for encouraging her to excel.
“He convinced me to do speech when I didn’t want to,” Azem said. “He pushed me and I’ve enjoyed a lot of success because of it.”
All of these accomplishments in speech might lead one to think Azem would be leaning toward a career in which she could make use of her talent for drama or public speaking. But that’s not the case.
Azem, who also is a member of the National Honor Society, has another side to her life. The girl who loves the arts also has a talent for science.
“I’ve loved science since middle school,” she said. “I realized it is a real important way to help people by making medicine safer with chemistry or by keeping the environment safe. To do either of those things, I would need a scientific background.”
She is considering pursuing a degree in biology or chemistry at Stanford University, which is her dream school. She also has Brown University and Cornell University on her list of favorite schools.
Azem, the daughter of Corie and Ramsey Azem, of Oak Lawn, said that planning for college is a big motivator.
“I do want to get into a good school and have a good career so I can help people,” she said. “My parents have done a lot to make sure I can go to school in the places I want. I want them to feel their work has paid off and that I’m taking advantage of all the opportunities I’ve been given.”