Oak Forest teen has passion for performing
Sara Valente is at home on the stage. So whether she is performing on her home “turf” on Oak Forest High School’s stage or on the other side of the world, she shines.
Her name is a familiar one on the playbills at Oak Forest High School. She has had a role in every production the school has sponsored since she arrived as a freshman.
This past spring, as a sophomore, she scored the lead role of Cinderella in the school’s musical production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.”
She’s in rehearsals for “Little Women,” which will be performed at the school Oct. 25 to 27. Valente will play the role of Amy March in the classic.
“It is nice to perform with some of your best friends from school. It is a lot of fun to express yourself in front of your classmates, too,” she said.
As a member of the Oak Forest High School Madrigal Performers, Valente often takes the stage at various locations in and around her community, giving performances throughout the holiday season.
Valente, 15, also is a member of the school’s Harmoni Ensemble, which gives her the opportunity, as she said, “to be around people who appreciate both singing and acting.”
As an eighth-grader, she auditioned for and was accepted into the Chicago Children’s Choir, an organization that performs internationally. In January, Valente’s stage was in India when she traveled there with the group to perform at the Jaipur Literature Festival.
“It was an eyeopening experience and such an honor to perform at an international level,” said Valente, who performed in several cities in India in addition to participating at the festival. “We were the only choir representing Chicago. It was a lot different than performing in the U.S. because they have a different appreciation for music there.”
In June 2014, she is to travel with the choir to Cape Town, South Africa for two weeks of performances.
Valente, who ranks in the top five of her class, also is a member of the National Thespian Honor Society for the performing arts and was elected secretary of the Oak Forest chapter. At school, she is a student council representative for the junior class, an honor that she said “allows me to be a voice for the whole class.”
This past summer, she worked as a mentor leader for Oak Forest’s Advance Placement Camp to give incoming freshmen insight into high school life and rigorous classes. She’s also the school announcer, delivering the morning announcements each day.
Valente keeps active by playing soccer and varsity golf. She hopes to continue playing golf in college.
At home, she taught herself how to play the piano and the ukulele.
“I think all of my teachers are my mentors. I spend more time at school than I do at home. They’ve taught me a lot of things that have just become ingrained in my brain,” said Valente, the daughter of Cindy and Neal Valente, of Oak Forest.
Valente hasn’t finalized her academic plans for college yet. However, she knows she will be pursuing something in the area of math and science. This semester, her course load includes advanced placement calculus, AP biology and AP physics.
“It is a lot of work but most of the workload is taken off if you enjoy what you are doing and I really like math and science. That makes it easier to study and get your work done,” said Valente, who is considering a career in medicine so she can combine her love of math and science while also helping people.
Any music will be left to her spare time.
“It is a hard choice because two of my favorite things are creativity and academics,” she said. “I view the arts as more of a self-expression type of thing and a hobby, but as an occupation, I really enjoy science, and that would be easier to go into than the arts.”