Christ Church Episcopal School experiences have prepared graduating seniors for whatever comes next and to make a positive difference in the world. Each week, we will put the spotlight on a graduating senior from the Class of 2020. We hope you enjoy getting to know these amazing CCES students!
Diverse (adj.): showing a great deal of variety. The word “diverse” does not begin to do Marissa Powe justice, but as one takes stock of all of her accomplishments, areas of involvement and interests, it starts to become clear how this word is interwoven in her life. Marissa is both the 2019 Greenville News Upstate Awards Girls Basketball Player of the Year and the 2019 CCES Homecoming Queen. She is a basketball state champion and an IB student. She is fun in the classroom and the picture of calm on the basketball court. She loves Biology and plays multiple musical instruments.
Marissa came to CCES in her freshman year of high school and during her time at the Upper School, she has “met so many great people and made a few lifelong friends.” She credits the school and notes it has given her “a great opportunity to grow, flourish, and help finding my purpose.” At CCES, Marissa has learned to become a leader and she has strived to use her “experiences to make the community better.” Her leadership and influence can be felt in a variety of places within the school. Marissa was the lone senior on the Girls Varsity Basketball team this year and while she has loved all her basketball seasons at CCES, she says winning the State Championship last year was especially sweet.
Marissa plays both the piano (she practices for an hour every day!) and the viola. She can’t remember her exact age when she started piano, but guesses she was about four, and she started playing the viola when she was ten. While the piano will always be her favorite instrument because of all the positive memories attached to it, she loves the viola and its rich sounds. During this past month, Marissa has taken up a new instrument, the ukulele, which brings her total up to three! She says the ukulele is “completely different than anything I have ever played before” and states that she is enjoying having “the time to improve my skills.”
However, even with all her accomplishments on the court, in music, and in the classroom, her “largest life achievement” has been “being trusted to start the foundations of a conversation about diversity and inclusion within the Christ Church community.” Her goal when she originally got involved with the Diversity and Inclusion initiative was to “inspire a growth of empathy” and for the community “to recognize that our school is not perfect and that everyone can work to improve on the many hardships that minority groups face.” Marissa has seen personal growth as a listener, a communicator, and leader through her involvement. She states: “It has been a great experience listening to others’ stories and [understanding] how your behavior could potentially affect someone else.” Marissa recognizes the strides the committee has made and believes so much of that is due to the leadership of Ms. Melanie Gordon, Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Marissa can see the influence of Ms. Gordon as she “pushes the student body to recognize their actions and learn to be change-makers.” Although this is the first official year of this initiative, Marissa is encouraged by how much they have accomplished. She states: “I cannot wait to see what becomes of this, its long-term effects, and hopefully, things are a bit easier for future Cavs.”
Marissa’s leadership, passion, and diversity of interests will serve her well as she graduates and moves on to her new chapter. “Marissa is an inspired scholar who is destined to meet success,” says Linda Schulz, Director of College Counseling. Linda states that Marissa is seeking “an intellectually stimulating college environment that also places value on diversity of thought, background, heritage, culture, etc.” and she certainly found that in her school of choice.
The University of Chicago was the only school Marissa applied to and she was initially drawn to it because of their interdisciplinary learning style. She is interested in undergraduate research and Chicago has a lot of readily available opportunities. When she visited, everyone’s “apparent intellectual curiosity and excitement about learning new things” really stood out to her. Marissa plans on pursuing either Public Policy Studies or Biological Sciences, and is considering minoring in Spanish. She also signed her letter of intent in February to play basketball (Go Maroons!!)
JUST FOR FUN!
Favorite class? ToK with Forb (Theory of Knowledge with Mr. Forbis)
What basketball player(s) inspire your game? Brea Beal and Kawhi Leonard, most definitely due to their defensive intensity. I also look up to Lawren Cook (CCES ’18) for always pushing me to be the best player possible. She has a terrific work ethic and she is a great teacher.
Go-to pregame music? I usually do not listen to music before games, because I am usually found in MJ’s office taking a nap or doing Rosetta Stone.
Favorite Netflix show? The Good Place, Big Mouth, or Bojack Horseman
If you could relive any CCES experience, what would it be? The Homegoing basketball games this year. The energy was really awesome.