Laura Braley: Time for the next act

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There’s no doubt that senior Laura Braley has got what it takes to tackle the real world after graduation.  This actress, Girl Scout, church volunteer and honor student has experienced numerous memorable events in her life during her four years at Concord High School, most leaving a significant impact on her life and the future that lies ahead of her.
Here at CHS Braley has played a big role in CAST, Concord High School’s drama club.  Braley has been in almost every CAST show for the past fours years except for “Miss Saigon.”
Most recently she played the role of the mother, Rivkeh Lev, in the production “My Name Is Asher Lev,” a 40-minute performance CAST prepared for the New Hampshire Educational Theatre Guild Festival.
This production brought them even further than New Hampshire Regionals, moving on to states,  which they won for the first time to move on to the noncompetitive New England’s, a very fun time for Braley and other CAST members.
Beyond drama productions at CHS, Braley has also taken voice lessons for five years with Ellen Nordstrom at the Concord Community Music School.
Braley said she will never forget performing at the Christa McAuliffe Auditorium but she will also never forget Concord High School’s amazing  teachers, mentioning those in the English department specifically.
“I have felt like the English teachers are not just teaching English. A lot of the time they’re the kindest teachers I think, or the teachers that make an impact on what I might want to do in my future,” she said.
These teachers have really influenced Braley to develop such a deeper passion for English throughout her four years here at CHS. She said she has often turned to English during tough times because she processes things in writing a lot more easily than she does verbally.
When her mom passed away at the beginning of her junior year, for example, writing really helped her learn to live with that absence.
“Like how do you get through something like that?” she said. “You don’t get through it.  Like yesterday was Mother’s Day.  That wasn’t a normal day for me. And it’s been like a year, a little over a year and a half, so it’s not something you get through.  It’s something you learn to live with.”
An honor student who earned an NGA of 98.8, Braley hopes to pursue her degree in English education with a minor in drama at Elon University in North Carolina starting this fall.
“It was actually not my first choice school, but I think it was just meant to be,” she said, explaining that the University of Virginia had been her top choice.
Braley has also considered going into public health.  Over February vacation she traveled to Costa Rica with her Girl Scout troop to help out at the poorest school in the country.
“It was kind of our last hoorah. We just did a lot of really fun outdoor activities, kind of just enjoying each other,” she said.
In April she traveled to Jamaica with her church, Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, on an annual trip that Concord pediatrician Doctor Mark Carney has been making for 18 years now. Carney and his team, including a gynecologist, a dietitian, and other volunteers from the church, give out free medication and see patients.
Volunteering is another way Braley continues to live through the loss of her mother.
“I think that volunteering is something that I’ll stay with in service, and I think that’s important.  Dealing with stress or dealing with hard times in life, you need to realize that you’re not the only one dealing with hard stuff,” she explained.
Although very excited to further her education, Braley is a little emotional about leaving her hometown for college.
She said she will really miss her friends, most of whom will be attending the University of New Hampshire. This includes her best friend, Meredith Dustin, and others she has known for many years.
“It’s like every time you perform show you perform with a cast, and you work with that class for maybe four, five months and it’s never quite the same,” she said. “You know you never have the exact same group of people with the exact same shows so every cast has a feeling, so you know when it ends that it’s not going to be the same again.”
On the other hand, Braley is excited about finally having a rest from her eventful four years of high school.
“I’ve just been going nonstop and I’m tired,” she said.  “I’m going to sleep a lot this summer!”