Beza Mekonnen

Beza Mekonnen
Elementary School: Graham & Parks and Peabody School
Upper School: Rindge Avenue Upper Campus
Upcoming Plans: New York University
Area of Study/Interest: Acting
Career Aspiration: Actor

Favorite subject at CRLS

Why is it your favorite subject?
Drama is a massive form of self-expression which has become integral to my interactions with identity, community, and culture. I took drama classes all four years of high school, and as I explored dramatic texts, technique, and history, my personal values developed immensely. It was in the Black Box classroom and on the Fitzgerald stage that I first began to cultivate a strong sense of self and find my voice. My time as a drama student also reminded me of the beauty and possibility in "play," and what it means to freely experiment with the voice, body, and mind. Every class was enlightening, and I truly believe that the benefits will stretch far beyond the scope of these four years.

Favorite CRLS Staff Person
Monica Murray

What makes that staff person so special?
Monica is a gem. Her actions are beautifully indicative of what she clearly values: the wellness and development of her students. She allows empathy to guide her pedagogy, catering carefully to each individual's need. In doing so, she fosters the most wonderful environment—one that I'm always excited and grateful to be a part of. I don't think anyone can take her class and not have their world rocked. School just feels so different when you're being taught by her. I've always felt welcomed and appreciated in her presence, and I've learned so much from her wisdom and mentorship. Her lessons are life lessons before anything else; invaluable insight which appeals to the cultural awareness that many other classrooms fail to acknowledge. All in all, Monica is a refreshingly passionate and intelligent teacher who is exceptionally capable of reaching young people. She reminds you of how special you are, consistently proves she has your back, and is always willing to go the extra mile. She rides for her students like no one's business, and I admire her so much for it. Big love for Monica, always.

Extracurricular activities, clubs, school-related activities
Off Broadway Theatre Society, Black Student Union, Bridge Scholars, Modern Dance Company

What were some of the out-of-school time (O.S.T) programs that you participated in anytime between grades 6-12?
Wheelock Family Theatre, Actors' Shakespeare Project, Harvard Dance Center, Gately Youth Center, Cambridge Youth Soccer

How did being enrolled in any O.S.T. program(s) contribute to your success both in and out of high school? 
Each of these programs held me to expectations of effort and consistency outside of the school setting. My parents weren't dragging me out of bed to get to these places—if I wanted to be involved, it was up to me to continue participating. This reality helped me to exercise discipline from a young age; preparing me for my high school commitments, as well as whatever I dedicate myself to in years to come.

What did you like most about CRLS? Why?
There's always so much going on. From person to person, there's this incredible amount of diversity. Differences in backgrounds, interests, and personal dispositions make CRLS unpredictable in the best ways imaginable. I found connection and community in such an odd variety of spaces. The nature of CRLS actualizes this possibility for many of its students, opening doors which are usually otherwise locked.

What is something people unfamiliar with CRLS should know about the school? Why?
It's hard not to feel small when attending a school as big as CRLS. So when it comes time to seek out support, you may not know which one of the million corners to turn to. This is why it's super important to know that there is a network of administrators, other faculty members, and student-led organizations that can accommodate your needs. There are clerks, guidance counselors, deans, and advisors who all work very hard to support you, and will gladly point you in the right direction. Taking the brave step of asking for help can get you very far at this school.

What advice would you give incoming freshmen about CRLS?
There is no "right" way to do high school. Your experience will never compare to that of the person next to you—and that's a good thing. You get to walk through these four years on your own terms, making your own decisions. The advice that comes up most often is most likely good advice, but it's your choice whether or not to take it. You will find your way regardless.

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