Teen of the Week: Williamstown teen finds her outlet performing

Photo submitted Julianna Stephens, right, rehearses a scene from the MOVP production of “The Giver” last year.

Every young person needs an outlet to help them figure out who they want to be. For Williamstown High School junior Julianna Stephens, that outlet is community theater and performing. Julianna, or “Jules” as her friends call her, describes herself as an artistic person who was very shy but was able to open up once she got on stage. Now that confidence has grown to the point that Stephens volunteers at Camden Clark Medical Center, assisting patients and just making them feel comfortable. It’s a bit like the nanny with a spoonful of sugar, and Stephens’ dream role, Mary Poppins.

Question: How did you get involved in the community theater scene in the Mid-Ohio Valley? How many shows have you done, what is your favorite role and why?

Answer: My mom saw my creative side and so she signed me up for Guild Builders at the Actors Guild when I was in seventh grade. While I was an artistic person, I was also very shy. However, when I started getting more involved in the program, I came out of my shell and fell in love with performing. Since then, I have been in 11 shows with the Actors Guild and Mid-Ohio Valley Players. I’ve played many characters, but my favorite to date has been Rosemary from “The Giver” at MOVP. Rosemary has such a deep and heavy story and I loved being able to portray that on stage. I enjoy roles that can make audiences feel something.

Q: What else do you like about acting? What would be your dream role?

A: I enjoy acting because it gives me the opportunity to be somebody completely different for a while. As a character, you can take any audience member and make them feel something. And while performing these characters with other actors, I have developed some of the truest friends of my life. My dream role would definitely have to be Mary Poppins because she’s “practically perfect in every way.”

Q: Tell me a little bit about volunteering at Camden Clark. How long have you been doing it, why did you want to do it and what exactly does being a hospital volunteer entail?

A: I just started volunteering at the hospital last fall. Part of my graduation requirements include having community service hours, but I chose the hospital because of my interest in the medical field. Teen volunteers help patients by getting them things they might need, socializing with them, and other things that help the hospital run more smoothly. I recommend volunteering at your local hospital because it gives you the chance to help others and give back to the community.

Q: So are you drawn to a career where maybe you could help other people? What are your future aspirations?

A: I’m drawn toward the field of forensic pathology. One day I hope to be able to help others by investigating and solving the medical mysteries of why people die, especially in criminal cases.

Q: Back to the artistic side, how long have you been part of your school choir? When did you learn that singing was something you enjoyed? What types of music do you enjoy singing the most?

A: I’ve been a part of my school’s choir for two years. I’ve always loved to sing, especially in a group. Songs from Broadway musicals are my favorite to sing.

Q: Tell me about working on the prom committee. What is the theme of your junior prom? Why did you want to be on the committee? Are you looking forward to prom?

A: I joined prom committee to help make our prom the best it could be. The theme this year is Black and Bling 2018, and I’m very excited to attend and be part of the tradition.

Q: What do you like most about school? What do you like the least? What advice would you give to younger kids about surviving the high school experience?

A: The best part about school is exploring new interests you never knew you had. The worst part is getting up at 6 a.m. every morning. One of my biggest pieces of advice I can give is, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Do not miss the opportunity to learn something new or grow because you are too afraid to ask. Another big one is, join as many clubs and activities as you can. Not only will you find your “people” through these, but you will find ways to stretch yourself, your creativity and your intellect in completely new and different ways.

Erin O’Neill conducted this interview. To nominate a Teen of the Week, email news@mariettatimes.com

Julianna Stephens

¯ Age: 16.

¯ School: Williamstown High Junior.

¯ Family: Mother, Judy Stephens; father, Phil Stephens; brother, Josh Stephens.

¯ Activities: Choir, Camden Clark Medical Center volunteer, art, theater.

¯ Future plans: Wants to study forensic pathology/mortuary sciences after high school.