Fall Student of the Month – Malik Njeri-Mesquito
Name: Malik Njeri-Mesquito
School: Roxborough HS
Nominated By: Deborah Bender – Teacher
If you were to ask Malik what has defined his high school experience, he would say “growth!” Malik was the first to say that he hasn’t always been the most motivated student. But if you ask his teacher and nominator, Debi Bender, he no longer needs any extra pushing: “I’ve noticed leadership in him for a long time,” she said. “I just needed him to see it for himself!”
In order to help him see it, Ms. Bender made Malik the student leader for his senior capstone project in the Visual Arts Production program at Roxborough. The scope of the project involves partnering with the Business Academy at Roxborough and creating a complete visual production and promotion package to highlight and support their capstone project. This is a pilot – never before at Roxborough have two groups of students from different academies collaborated on their capstone projects.
Malik assumed leadership like a natural. As the leader, he is required to be the bridge between the academies. He communicates with the business students and their clients in order to move the project forward. He relays their needs back to his team of graphic designers and web developers. He is responsible for output of the visual and creative elements and the overall user interface and experience – all the while maintaining his grades in his other subjects. “I’m very impressed by the way he approached the leadership – his eyes perked up, he stepped in and assumed the role successfully. He has the loyalty of his classmates.” said Ms. Bender. “When something needs to get done, I don’t have to lean on the team, I just lean on Malik!”
We had the privilege of chatting with Malik after he was selected as Student of the Month. Here’s more of what he had to say:
- What does being named Student of the Month mean to you? It means a lot. I always knew that I could do anything I put my mind to, but I had been feeling unmotivated for a long time. This project re-motivated me. So being named Student of the Month is affirmation that I’m doing a good job. It feels good to be recognized for the hard work.
- Why do you think you were nominated? I think for the way I lead. I don’t see leadership as being dominating or over-assertive. I lead by example and building relationships. I hope that when people work with me, they’re motivated to want to do the work. I think establishing that connection is important, I like to meet people where they are.
- Explain your relationship to Ms. Bender, your teacher and nominator: We are cool. She’s a great teacher, even if her jokes are corny. But she believes in me. When I felt unmotivated, she gave me the push I needed to get back on track. She saw something in me that I didn’t see at the time.
- What is one thing you’d like to share about yourself that most people don’t know about you? I’m really into music. I plan to go to college for video game design, but if that doesn’t work, I want to be in the music industry. I sing, rap, play acoustic and electric guitar, and keys. My favorite genres are R&B and Soul.
- What is the best thing about attending school at Roxborough? Roxborough is good at challenging students and pushing them to be their best. They are good at finding interesting things to teach and interesting ways to teach. The teachers work hard to connect with the students and coax out a love for whatever they’re teaching. It’s a great school.