Patrick Grudzien is rarely at a loss for words. He is a young man who actually enjoys when he has to think fast on his feet.

That explains why he enjoys debate so much. In fact, Grudzien, a senior at Andrew High School in Tinley Park, is captain of the debate team and a member of the speech team.

“I enjoy both speech and debate,” said Grudzien, 18. “The speeches I do are very political and I like thinking on my feet. I like not knowing what I am going to say, but coming up with ideas and arguments in front of people.”

Grudzien said he always has some kind of thought running through his head.

“We get a topic, word or person’s name or a quote, and we have two minutes to do a pre-write. In those two minutes, I can write key words that come to mind and I can make those quick connections between the word and the prompt to fill out the six minutes we have to argue for our topic,” he said.

One could say that Grudzien was a late bloomer. He didn’t join speech and debate as a freshman; he finally joined in his junior year, demonstrating it never is too late to get involved.

He acknowledged that he got some practice at home even before joining the teams, though.

“I guess you could say that over the course of the years, I’ve been able to sharpen my skills by using my parents,” he said.

His natural talent for debate and public speaking had him considering a career as a politician.

“But that’s a little risky,” he said, noting that some politicians stray from ethical standards. “That’s not what I want to do. I want to help people.”

With that in mind, Grudzien has turned his attention to medicine.

“I have always had an interest in general science,” he said, explaining that his father’s family is from Poland and all but one are involved in the medical field. “There’s a pharmacist, nurse and brain surgeon, so it runs in the family.”

At first, he wanted to steer clear of the family calling but now is seriously considering a career in neuroscience.

“I am more than positive that is what I want to go into. Out of the whole body, the brain interests me the most. I want to know how it coincides with the rest of the body,” said Grudzien, who would like to attend medical school at Johns Hopkins University or the University of Chicago.

Now that he has confirmed his career path, which includes his love of science, he can enjoy the remainder of his high school career.

At Andrew, he is a senior leader, a member of the National Honor Society, National German Honor Society and film club, and he also plays the piano.

Grudzien, the son of Edward and Margie Grudzien, of Orland Hills, said his parents motivate him to succeed.

“My parents both came here as immigrants and they both put a lot on the line to be here for my future so my life will be easier,” he said. “I also really look up to my dad. He’s gone through a lot. He is a good father and a good husband. He works hard and still has time for his family. He doesn’t just work hard to have a good life, he works hard so I can have a good life.”

Grudzien models his life after his dad.

“If I work hard now and am really determined to achieve my goals, I can go into the future knowing I can have an easier life and I’ll be able to pass that on to my kids,” he said.