Updated: Mar 9, 2021
ROHINI MALAGI, Staff Writer
KIMBERLY FIRRELLO, Interviewer
Photo Courtesy of CELESTE MCKENZIE
Celeste is a class officer, specifically the Vice President for the Class of 2023. She is involved “in the executive decisions that happen within the class in regarding what activities or fundraisers will happen” and helps run the Class of 2023 Instagram (linked below). She has always been interested in student government and started when she was in 8th grade. She says “it's really fun and it's really good to be able to have a say in what goes on.” When asked about the initial reason she wanted to join, Celeste explains, “I’m put in a lot of leadership positions outside of school so it was only fitting I was in a leadership position in school and decided to try it out.” This is her third year of being vice president and will continue to run for next year. Celeste continues to remain passionate about her role especially during the pandemic. She elaborates by expressing, “It has kept me on my toes. It’s really easy to get complacent in the position that you are in, but we have had to work around a lot of things because of the pandemic. We have had to get really creative with getting student involvement and [COVID-19] safe fundraisers.” She jokingly adds, “I definitely have had to use my brain more.” Celeste describes how honored she is to be the class vice president and hopes to continue to serve to make the Class of 2023’s prom a success!
Celeste has an innate passion for music and earlier this year she came in second place for the school’s annual talent show! Her enthusiasm for music came from her family and explains, “I grew up in a church where my mom was a worship leader and my grandpa runs a radio station in Canada so music has always run in my family and I grew up with it so it’s in my blood,” Her reason for taking part in the talent show was because she wanted to be a part of school events and feels it is much easier to do so with [COVID-19] because you do not have to physically be in person. For the talent show, Celeste chose to sing “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cook. She chose this song because, “It’s a really powerful song and good for the current state of our society. I wanted to get people to feel something because I was feeling something while singing it.” She definitely agrees that a virtual talent show was much easier and gave her the chance to record it as many times as she wished. She loves the power behind the song she chose and its significant connection to the Civil Rights Movement. She elaborates, “The lyrics show the Black experience and Sam Cook is really good and especially with Black Lives Matter happening and me being a Black person, that song invokes such an emotional response from me.” She first listened to it first in June and then when deciding on a song for the talent show, played it again and knew it was the one. During her preparation she realized she wanted it to be emotional and describes, “I had to be more vulnerable and you can see how into it I was getting.” She also expresses her initial apprehension for such a vulnerable moment to be uploaded onto the internet. Within her church, she is a worship leader and she loves how music makes people feel something. She continues to play music because it is in every aspect of her life and she loves music. She says, “I enjoy every type of music from country to classic rock.” She hopes to continue to use music to “invoke emotional responses in people” and loves how music is a “universal language.” She continues on by saying, “Through other school activities that we do I can help to unite the school in some way because I know it is really easy to feel alone in [COVID-19] and many people don’t have the motivation to be as involved in school anymore… I would like to create more of a community in school through music, if I could.”
Within school, Celeste is involved in: Mock Trial, PUSH, Jazz Band, Marching Band (Color Guard), Key Club, and Alchemists. This year the Alchemists will be holding a virtual Theatre Revue and Celeste says, “I will be singing “She Used to Be Mine” so definitely check that out.” In Mock Trial, Celeste has been a witness for two years and loves how the role always requires her to adapt to the scenario. She explains, “You have to memorize your role but on the day of, you don’t know the questions the other team will ask you so you have to become the character.”
Overall she says, “Music really is at my core, it’s how I connect with people. I mostly can translate my thoughts. I write music and that helps me become a better writer. I have submitted to competitions and recently I got a silver key at the Scholastic art and writing awards.” She elaborates, “I'm so much more empathetic towards people and their struggles now and it’s allowed me to use music as a bridge between people to speak for those who can’t be spoken for.” If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the NBTHS virtual talent show to watch Celeste McKenzie in action.
This year, the Student Government Organization is raising money for the Thirst Project. A non-profit organization helping to make water more accessible to communities around the world. Be sure to check out the link below!
Thirst Project: https://my.thirstproject.org/fundraiser/2923541.
Class of 2023 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nbths_2023/