When Marie Miklus of Berlin, Germany, was four years old, she already showed signs of being artistic.
She was four when the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 happened. When her mother explained what had occurred, she took a sheet of paper and drew two tall, three-dimensional towers with planes flying into them.
Her parents love art. Every wall in their house is covered with artwork. As she grew up, the family often visited art museums and special art exhibits.
At first, it was boring, but Marie soon learned to like art and by age 6 began copying works of art. It was her favorite pastime, and it soon became evident that she had a natural talent for it.
At age 13, Marie began designing special occasion cards and creating paintings for sale. People soon were coming to her to request specific paintings.
She said her home has a wall full of shelves containing books of artwork. Using mediums such as pencil, watercolor, pastels, charcoal, and acrylic paints, she is able to replicate paintings by famous artists such as Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci, Monet, and Rembrandt.
She also enjoys photography.
She entered several pieces April 2 in the Wheat State League art show at Elyria and received a merit ribbon for a black and white pencil drawing.
As the 16-year-old artist looks ahead, she sees endless possibilities of what she can do with her talent. She enjoys fashion design and designs her own clothes. She once took a car design workshop, which also intrigued her. She thinks she may go to Venice, Italy, after secondary school, to pursue her studies.
Marie’s father is an orthopedic doctor, and her mother works part-time at an airport. She keeps in touch with them and her 12-year-old sister through texting and skyping.
Centre High School
Marie is classified as a junior at Centre, but she plans to retake her junior year next year after she returns home. She said her school is more advanced in math and also teaches Spanish, two courses she wants to make up.
“I look at this year like a vacation,” she said.
Coming from a school with 1,000 students, Marie quickly learned that a rural community with a small school is very different.
“Everybody knows everybody, and they all relate to each other,” she said. “In Germany, I don’t even know our neighbors.”
She was struck by the way students in all grade levels mingle together.
“You just have to try to fit in,” she said.
She participated in volleyball and basketball and now is on the track team. She likes sprinting and wants to try high jump, as well.
“I learned that basketball is a big deal here,” she noted.
In Germany, she is a member of a basketball club that functions outside of school.
Marie assists art teachers Pat Wick and Jessica Gilbert in teaching fourth-grade art. She said she has enjoyed helping some students learn to use pastels.
Living here, she had to get used to the wide-open spaces, of which she has seen few in Germany. She also learned that Americans love their cars, which are a necessary mode of transportation in rural areas but are also popular in cities.
“We have cars in Germany but we usually walk or ride on buses,” she said.
Marie’s experience at Centre has given her an enhanced appreciation for her life in Germany.
“It’s not that you get to know another culture, you also get to know your own culture better,” she said. “In Germany, if I need milk, a grocery store is five minutes away. In Burdick, if we run out of milk, I may have to wait three days to eat cereal again.”
Phil and Jamie Peterson of Burdick are her host parents.
“I love them so much,” she said. “They are the perfect hosts. I am so comfortable around them. It’s always fun with them. Now I have a second family.”