Marauders Of The Week: A Global View And A Creative Thinker

Photos: Courtesy photos

This week, the Belmontonian presents two seniors from Belmont High whose achievements and passions have earned them the title of Marauders of the Week:

Crystal Nayiga Magandazi

By Lillian Powelstock

Passionate about education and global issues, Crystal Nayiga Magandazi moved to Belmont her sophomore year from a high school with 24 students in the senior class. Crystal said it took her a while to find her niche.

“It was a little more difficult for me to find a group of people that I related with,” she said. “Just because I was in a specific class doesn’t mean that all of my friends would be in that class with me, which means it depends on which classes they took and which level.”

Despite this, Crystal eventually managed to find not only a group of friends but a level of personal fulfillment in classes such as Modern World History and Global Capstone. She cites Dr. Jeffrey Shea, teacher of Modern World History, as “one of my favorite teachers just because he is so encouraging and I can tell that he’s very passionate about his job.”

Crystal went on to take Global Capstone, another history elective taught by Jamie Shea (to whom Crystal says Dr. Shea has no relation). This class allowed her to focus on a specific subject throughout the year, which in Crystal’s case was global education. This makes perfect sense given that Crystal has made it her mission to spread understanding for individuals with a diversity of experiences.

Crystallk expresses a focus on immigrant and African American narratives, demonstrated by her enrollment in globally-oriented history electives and her heavy involvement in the club, Black in Belmont. Living in Belmont, Crystal describes her experience as very different from that of black students living in Boston, but aims to create more awareness in the form of giving them space to share their stories.

For those interested in Black in Belmont, the club meets every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in room 134.

Phoebe Derba

By Claire Svetkey

Senior Phoebe Derba is creative, passionate and kind. Her favorite subjects are those that allow for creative thinking, especially chemistry and art because they are the only subjects where she tends “not to be discouraged by failure.”

The teacher Phoebe cites as being the most influential in her time at the high school is, unsurprisingly, the art teacher, Mark Milowsky, whom she has had as a teacher for her four years of high school. She credits him with not only improving her art skills but also teaching her not to take life too seriously.

Phoebe’s creativity extends outside the classroom: she has been the color guard section leader in marching band for the past two years, and this is her fourth year playing bass in the Rivers Youth Symphony in Weston. She is proud of her work in the marching band because “it’s very rewarding to see the success of the band arise in part from [her] own enthusiasm and willingness to help others,” and tries to help keep the environment of the marching band as positive as it was when she was a freshman. She feels that she learns the most about others through their taste in music, which inspires her when she plays bass.

In addition, Phoebe is passionate about movies – she said she could talk about them for “days on end” – and wants to be a filmmaker when she’s out of school. 

Phoebe has two pieces of advice for other students: The first is to not forget to be a kid; in her opinion, a lot of high schoolers waste their time thinking that they’re grown up. She reminds them to “please take the time to jump in a huge puddle.” Phoebe follows her own advice about being a kid; she says that if you hear someone screaming in the cafeteria, it’s probably her and she’s sorry. Her second piece of advice is that disliking a teacher is a waste of time because almost all teachers are trying to pass on the passion they have for their subject.

“If you’re not inspired by a subject, be inspired by their passion.”