Evergreen Park teen enjoys colorful high school career
BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI Correspondent May 18, 2012 2:26PM
Mary Kate Ogorzalek, of Evergreen Park, plans to someday own a physical therapy business. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 28, 2012 12:38PM
Mary Kate Ogorzalek knew for a while that once she got to Evergreen Park High School, color guard would be among the activities she wanted to join.
What she didn’t know was whether it would happen.
“Auditioning was very scary. I thought I had done horrible,” she said. “I didn’t think I got on it, but when I made it, I was so happy.”
Now a senior, Ogorzalek knows that after she graduates this month, someone will fill her shoes. She has encouraged others to do just that, just as she was encouraged.
Ogorzalek was in band and color guard as a student at Central Junior High School in Evergreen Park, and when high school students visited to talk about all the activities that would be available to her as a freshman, she became inspired to join various clubs.
But color guard stood out.
“I knew a few students who were in the high school band and color guard and I just thought that the color guard routines were so cool, I just had to be a part of it,” she said.
Four years later, it is still a favorite.
“We spend a lot of time outside of school as a group, and I made so many new friends of all ages in color guard,” said Ogorzalek, 17. “I learned skills I had never known before, and it is probably one of the most positive experiences I’ve had in high school.
“The people in it are fantastic, and you can go to anyone or anything with any problems. Everyone is so welcoming or nice. Color guard really is a team activity.”
She enjoyed the experience so much, she urged other students to join color guard. And that’s not the only thing that came full-circle. This year, she helped with auditions.
“They did the auditions to ‘Flashdance’ and it was the best dance ever. I absolutely love auditions,” she said.
In addition to color guard, Ogorzalek was involved with student leadership and drama club. She was on the bowling team and a leader in Operation Snowball, and she served as a freshman mentor and was an honor roll student.
Ogorzalek said her parents, Kris and Jim Ogorzalek, of Evergreen Park, are her mentors.
“They have pushed me to do what I want to do and given me the opportunity to do what I wanted to do,” she said. “They never said no, but gave me the resources to do what I needed to do. They’ve definitely helped me stay on track with my schoolwork, driven me everywhere, spent a lot of time in the car with me. They’ve done a lot for me.”
She has been accepted into the physical therapy program at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, which is to start during her junior year. Meanwhile, she will work toward a minor in journalism. Her goal is to one day own a physical therapy business.