Ashland High School student Jem Kloor was raised to follow her heart. The 16-year-old Ashland native has loved the French language since she was in third-grade. Now, as she is about to enter her junior year in high school, she sees all her hard work coming to fruition.

Her French teacher, Euphemia Uvick, said she admires Jem's determination.

"She knows what she likes and wants. Even if she is shy, she knows exactly where she wants to go," Uvick said.

Michael Kloor, Jem's father, says he has learned from his daughter.

"I am amazed and inspired by her zest for life, her positive persona, her thirst for knowledge, as well as this incredible drive and focused ambition that she embraces."

When Jem was choosing a language to study in school, her mother, Pamela, offered guidance.

"When deciding between either taking Spanish, which has practical applications in the work place, or taking French, in which Jem has a deep passion, I advised her that many practical opportunities will come her way, but pursuing a deep passion is a rarity," she said. "Jem has never regretted following her heart. Jem's passion for French is yet another layer in Jem finding her own special way in this complex world."

Jem recentlyt took some time to discuss with the Daily Tidings her passion for the French language.

DT: Did you grow up in Ashland?

JK: Yes, I've lived here all my life.

DT: You are studying French over the summer. Would you talk about how you became interested in learning French and what motivated you to study outside of school?

JK: I first became interested in French in third-grade. Madame Euphemia was teaching a French class after school. I thought the language was beautiful and wanted to learn how to speak it. In seventh- and eighth-grade I took Spanish because it was a required class for middle school, but I was not very interested in it and wanted to pick up my French again, so I took French in high school. Next summer, I look forward to taking a trip to France with the AHS French teacher, Madame Schaffer. I wanted to further my language skills and decided that a summer class would help me become better at speaking and understanding spoken French. The class really has helped me get closer to my goal.

DT: What would you like to do when you graduate high school?

JK: I definitely want to go to college, but I'm still unsure about what I would like to major in. I love writing and would like to become an author or a poet, but I also love math and am very advanced in that subject, so I might also like to be a math teacher. Whatever I do choose to do, however, I will most likely remain living in Ashland, because I love this town so much.

DT: Do you have any favorite authors or poets?

JK: I love Edgar Allen Poe and Robert Frost, and there are a few poems of Paisley Rekdal that I like. She's not a very well-known poet, but she still has amazing poetry.

DT: You like to bake. What's your favorite dish to make?

JK: I really like to make crepes, and making different kinds of toppings for them, as well.

DT: What are your other interests?

JK: I'm very interested in writing and math, and I also love to draw and paint. I'm a big fan of fantasy novels, and I like science fiction, too. I love cats &

I have three of them &

and I like being outside. I'm a big music fan. I listen to a lot of music, most genres, and I can play a little bit of piano and drums.

DT: How do you balance schoolwork with your outside interests?

JK: I'm very motivated when it comes to my schoolwork, so I usually put my work before free time. Sometimes I do my work with my friends. That way I can spend time with them and get my work done. Occasionally I procrastinate until the last minute, but I try not to do that, and even when I do, I always get my work in on time.

DT: Can you talk a bit about your family?

JK: I live here in Ashland with my mom, dad and brother. My mom works at Walker Elementary in the library, where she's worked for several years now. My dad has been in the financial business for a number of years now, selling cars, but at the moment he's looking for something different to do. My brother is almost 14, and next year he'll be going to AHS, too, as a freshman.

DT: Tell me something you've done recently that makes you proud.

JK: Before school ended I was part of the AHS math team. Students on the math team are all advanced in mathematics, and five times throughout the school year, different team from schools all over the Rouge Valley meet to participate in a math competition in which students, individually and as a group, have to solve math problems. There are three different teams from AHS, and at the last meet of the year, when awards were given out, the three Ashland teams scored first, second and third place. It was amazing being part of that team and to have proved my knowledge in mathematics.

DT: Talk about someone in your family who makes you proud.

JK: I'm really proud of a lot of people in my family, but I have one relative who I look up to as someone I'd like to be like. My uncle Harry, one of my dad's brothers, is the only person in the world to have earned two simultaneous PhDs, both in hard sciences. I admire him for his motivation, and I would love to become the second person to earn two simultaneous PhDs, although I don't know if I'm motivated enough to do that.