Place of escape

Theater becomes second home for junior

For+junior+Caroline+Parks%2C+the+theater+has+become+a+place+of+escape.

Photo by Savannah Pritchard

For junior Caroline Parks, the theater has become a place of escape.

Story by Maggie Coleman, feature editor

Independent.

Second mother.

Alone but a family.

Outspoken.

Smiling no matter the circumstance.

Junior Caroline Parks has had her fair share of ups and downs. Instead of letting these hardships define her, she let them shape her into the person she is today. She wouldn’t trade her unique life for anything.

Not having a father in some people’s life would completely tamper with their emotional state and most likely affect their well-being. Parks, on the other hand, knows that having an absent father in her life has been for the best.

“I think not having my dad around when I was little affected me,” Parks said. “I knew that he didn’t care about me, but now I’m sort of glad that he wasn’t in my life growing up. He wouldn’t have made me a stronger person. He’s not an encouraging human. And I’m okay with that.”

Parks doesn’t just have the average responsibilities of a teenager. Besides just going to theater, doing her homework, and actually going to school, she has a whole other list of tasks to be added to her plate. Not because she’s obligated, but because she knows it’s helping out her mom that much more.

“Since my mom works all the time, I do a lot of parent jobs around the house,” Parks said. “My mom has done a great job raising my siblings and me. I just want to make her life a little easier. I have to make sure my little sister’s homework is done, pick them up from school and pretty much just [take] on the role of the dad that I never had.”

Parks has found a get-away from her busy lifestyle. No, it’s not going to the beach or going to a weekend spa. The theater has become her home away from home.

“You have the chance to be somebody that you’re not,” Parks said. “I can be a poor old lady or a little kid. I just get an adrenaline rush when I perform on stage. It’s the same feeling that a football player gets before a big game. I cry at the end of every show. The plays are like my baby, so it’s hard to finish them and be done forever with that production.”

Parks hopes to continue this passion that has become a part of her. Theater has shaped her into a person that she is proud to be. She can’t imagine letting go of such a big part of her life.

“If I do continue theater as an adult, I want to do Broadway,” Parks said. “I don’t want to be on the cameras in Hollywood. I love musicals–since it’s my two favorite things, singing and acting–so doing that would be ideal.”

She is completely optimistic about all the curve balls that have been thrown at her, regardless of how she felt about them at the time of their pitch. They’ve allowed her to be her own individual person and never hide who she truly is.

“I’m just different because I don’t do what everyone else does,” Parks said. “I don’t go home and have two parents waiting on me. I’m partially a parent in my family of two adopted sisters and two real sisters, one younger and one who has a kid of her own. I love being another person on stage. I love to make people laugh. I love people because I know that everyone has a story and every story should be heard.”