Elevate to the Next Level

As Eaglecrest High School becomes a home to diverse students, Security Guard Shaun Varnado establishes a club under the name Elevate to bring together the diverse community and in all creates a family for those students. During these critical times of Black Lives Matter marches and fights for equality, Varnado felt it was important to have a community these kids could rely on and; a place where they were not only seen but also heard. 

Elevate is a club that thrives to bring together the diverse community and educate them about the racial challenges they may face, while also giving back to the community through numerous charity events.

Elevate also thrives to be connected with their roots and culture, by educating its students about the challenges these diverse students will face from racial bias to inequality. Elevate also volunteers to do numerous charity work, Varnado explains how they “want to be public servants” stating how they want to engage in any community service projects they can. Even though Elevate just began this year, they were quick to help after learning that an Eaglecrest family’s house had burnt down, raising over $1,000 in gift cards to help this family. 

When speaking to Varnado he emphasized the importance of “developing young adults” for “life’s daily challenges”, Varnado explains how he was “a kid with no direction” and now wants to do what he can to create a structure these students can depend on. Varnado describes the goals of Elevate in four easy steps: “providing a safe and encouraging environment, encouraging a healthy lifestyle, inspire students to set and achieve personal goals, prepare students for life after high school”.

Elevate wants to encourage its students of color to be the best they can be. Etsub Worku, a current member of Elevate, explains “students of color need a safe space at school,” having a similar response as another current member Keiona Taylor, who states that she wanted a “safe place where I’d feel welcomed”. These members explain how students of color are facing numerous challenges in society today, and this club will provide a space where these students can be heard and  Elevated. Etsub Worku also explains how this club will open up “those difficult but needed conversations,” this club will not only be involved in community service, but also educate these young adults and have conversations about racism and equality in a system built against them. 

Some Elevate members giving gifts to the family whose home burnt down. (Shaun Varnado)

Elevate is different from any other club as Keiona Taylor explains how they “came together to build a community inside of a community and learn that change starts with us”. These students want to make a difference for not only themselves but also diverse communities in general. 

Jakye Nunley, another current member, explains how he is “looking to get out peer upliftment and community upliftment,” stating those are key morals to what Elevate is about. Elevate thrives to be an uplifting and motivating community and a role model for others to hopefully start doing the same. Nunley explains how he will be able to “contribute the perspective of a young black male to the club” in an effort to explain how these different perspectives will lead students to be heard and understood. Elevate wants to push these students to overcome obstacles and achieve numerous goals. In all Elevate wants to create a family for these diverse students, while also motivating them to seize every opportunity and continue to elevate themselves and others. This club will in the long create a supportive family not only at Eaglecrest but also in other communities.