Tomorrow’s leaders: Katie Celeste

Published 2:28 pm Monday, March 1, 2010

It takes a closer look to understand Katie Celeste.

A four-year veteran of Nansemond River High School’s award-winning theater program, a member of the school’s field hockey team and president of the school’s VOICE service organization, it could seem Celeste relishes the role of student leader.

That is not the case.

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“This is weird for me,” Celeste admitted as she sat down for her interview. “I don’t really like being in the spotlight.”

Instead, Celeste, who was recently voted “Most Involved” by her class, prefers taking on personal challenges that will help put other people in the spotlight.

“I just like to help people,” Celeste said. “I know that sounds corny, but it’s true. And it’s not about putting how many service hours I have for my resume or putting stuff on my college applications. I don’t believe in counting hours. It’s about doing some good for others.”

During four years in her school’s theater program, Celeste has found a way to combine her love of service and her love of theater, emerging with a new passion.

Through her participation in theater, Celeste said that she has gained confidence, great friends and lessons in resilience, hard work and time management.

“I walk with my head held high knowing that I’m good at something,” Celeste said. Taking what she has learned from NRHS theater director Joleen Neighbours and her time with the theater program, Celeste has honed her skills as a stage manager.

In fact, she has been so successful at orchestrating and organizing productions that Celeste will work as an assistant stage manager for the SCCA’s production of “Oliver” this year.

“I have never thought I was that much better than anyone at what I do,” she said. “I just impressed them by doing what I have learned how to do. It’s really exciting that they thought that much of me.”

Celeste has already been accepted to Longwood University, and is waiting to hear back from Virginia Commonwealth University (and specifically its theater program) before making a decision on where to attend.

She knows that she will continue to study theater in college, and she looks forward to creating new and bigger productions on the college stage.

Additionally, Celeste is looking forward to finding new service opportunities in her college setting, whether it be through a specific organization on campus or just working alongside new classmates.

“Maybe it’ll just be spending a couple of hours at a soup kitchen,” Celeste said. “That’s the fun part — you can help people all sorts of ways.”