Sarah Gazala: Behind the Scenes

With her love of nature, the color yellow, and the phrase “easy peasy”, Sarah Gazala may originally come off as an introvert.  It isn’t until you really get to know her that you realize she’s much more complex than her small size and quiet demeanor originally suggest.  Once you start talking to her, you may gather she’s an avid story teller, laughing while telling stories of snow storms, boating accidents, and power outages.

“I will jabber and jabber on without giving my audience any context clues,” Gazala said.  “I keep[ messing up, but it’s something I’m working on.”

Constant improvement is something Gazala strives for.  Noting the time when she was barely cut from the academic team, she remembers hating the feeling of rejection – despite being so close to making the team.  Although originally disappointed, she decided to try out for the math team, also known as Math Counts.

“We basically stayed after school to do math – I thought it was really fun,” she said.

Through a great teacher and the MathCounts program, she discovered her love for math.  Although she clearly loves numbers, in terms of a career, she’s considering becoming a veterinarian because of her passion for animals.  While she doesn’t currently have any pets, she’s hoping for a turtle.

“They can live as long as you can!” Gazala said.

Besides her passion for math and animals, Gazala is also a huge fan of nature, citing the large tree in her back yard as the place she goes to relax.

“Being in that tree, I can feel the wind and see the sunset,” she said.  “I could sing about the sunset, I could talk about my day, [or] I could talk about different things that are on my mind.”

Some of her fondest memories come from the outdoors, including tipping over in a kayak and playing in two feet of snow while visiting her Nana in one of their go-to vacation spots, Virginia.

Her mom is from Virginia, while her dad was raised in Iraq, creating a very interesting family dynamic.  Gazala and her little sister, Linda, whom she compares to a pit bull, fight a lot, and have very different personalities.  Linda is labelled as a “girly girl”, while Gazala describes herself as much more of a tomboy.  Growing up, these differences prevented them from forming a close relationship.

[My sister is] very active, but I prefer to read a book over running outside and playing soccer,” Gazala said.

The book “Dear Know it All” first sparked her interest in photography.  Her mother also enjoys photography, making it easy for this hobby to blossom.

“I like taking the pictures when my family goes on vacation.” Gazala said.

Another favorite is the “Murder, She Wrote” series, which features a strong female detective, Jessica Fletcher, as the lead.

“She can always figure out the killer before anyone else – that’s how smart she is.  That’s the kind of person I admire.”

-Maggie Davis