By Christina Whiting
Some of Homer’s most active and engaged community members are our youth and Sabina Karwowski is a shining example.
Karwowski likes to collaborate on projects with other people, is involved in a wide variety of activities and describes herself as being very driven. As a child, she spent a great deal of her time in the Homer Harbor, looking for sea creatures under the docks, as she waited for her father to return from his fishing charters. This nurtured her love for marine biology and while in middle school, she volunteered for the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. In eighth grade, she worked as a CACS intern, running their dock tours and serving as a camp counselor at the Petersen Bay Field Station.
“Working on the Dock Tours was great,” she said. “I got to give tours of the places where I spent many of my childhood days.”
Early on, she also helped her parents with Spruce Acre Cabins, the family business. Here, while watching her parents interacting with guests and learning to fold beds and clean bathrooms, she discovered what it takes to work in a business that is dependent on tourism.
At 16 years old, she is no longer working with her family, but works summers at Salty Girls on the Homer Spit.
Karwowski is passionate about teenagers finding and sharing their voice. She is a founding member of Colors of Homer, a group of Homer High School teenagers who gather to share their creativity with each other and the community in a supportive environment. Colors of Homer is right up her alley.
“I like to perform and I appreciate that we can show our talents and abilities to the public without it being so pressured and stressful,” she said.
Karwowski and her friend, Lindsey Schneider, co-emceed a Colors of Homer performance at KBay Caffé two weeks ago. She was delighted to look out into the audience and see how crowded it was.
“Each event CoH does grows more in popularity as far as teens participating and people watching,” Karwowski said. “This means that we can expand on bigger and better ideas for the future to showcase the many talents of Homer’s youth.”
Last year, as part of a class competition, Karwowski and her best friend, Irene Pellegrini, created a TedX talk using animation to discuss how appearances affect the ways that people judge one another.
“We wanted to make a speech to show how we think people judge each other more on aesthetics than by what’s on the inside,” she said.
Karwowski and Pellegrini won first place and presented their talk to the community during a presentation at the Homer High School’s Mariner Theatre.
For the last two years, Karwowski has served as the Homer High School representative for the Friends of the Homer Public Library, a position that she was nominated for by a teacher. During monthly meetings with library staff, volunteers and other community members, the group discusses grants, ways to improve the library and how best to use donations.
“Everyone there has the library’s best interest for the future,” she said. “And while not everyone has a specific title, we all volunteer for fundraisers, potlucks and other events.”
Karwowski became interested in Homer’s art scene during her freshman year when she joined Homer High School’s Drama, Debate and Forensics team. She began performing in Pier One Theatre plays and last summer played the role of Angelique, a lead character in the play “The Imaginary Invalid.”
“I got to act alongside professional adults that I admire, including Peter Sheppard, Ken Landfield, Peter Norton and Jessica Williams,” she said. “It was also my first time singing in front of an audience and cast in a lead role.”
Karwowski recently performed in Stepping Out, Homer Council on the Arts community talent show. She sang a solo and performed a skit with her boyfriend, Owen Duffy. This was one of her more personal performances.
“I got to sing a song from one of my all-time favorite bands, ‘Florence + the Machine,’” she said. “Getting to perform with Owen and being backed up by musicians Lorraine Williams and Kirk Olsen was a great bonus.”
Karwowski will perform in the upcoming Homer High School musical, “The Sound of Plaid” and plans to continue in plays with Pier One Theatre this summer. In April, she will be one of several local women taking to the stage at Wasabi’s in a cabaret to benefit Homer Council on the Arts summer arts camp.
In addition to being on stage, Karwowski also has experience behind the scenes with technical and sound support for Homer High School performances.
“Being a techie has been some of my best theater experience,” she said. “It’s like having a back stage pass to how the performances are formed.”
Karwowski is driven to succeed. A straight “A” student, she is in her junior year and is taking three advanced placement classes that include chemistry, literature and U.S history.
“I figure that the more difficult the classes I take, the better colleges I have a chance to get in to,” she said.
While Karwowski enjoys the arts, she isn’t planning to create a life around music or theater; instead, she is considering studying chemistry and organizational management. She’s uncertain as to exactly what she wants to do, but isn’t concerned.
“I’m only 16, so it’s totally normal that I don’t know what I want to do for the rest of my life,” she said. “I think that as long as I have a good ground to take off of, I can decide later the places I want to be.”
Sabina Karwowski weaves her passions into her everyday life. She is an example of another Homer youth who is active, engaged and actively laying the foundation for her future.
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