Changing the equation


Photo provided by Addison Truzy.

Mr. Freeman congratulates Addison Truzy on her win as Queen of Compassion and Homecoming Queen for 2022-2023.

Sofia Domenech & Emelia Merrick, Staff Writer, Editor-In-Chief

  RJ Reynolds High School has a unique student body filled with students of many different backgrounds and stories. Since February is the designated month to shine a light and focus specifically on Black history and the achievements of black people, it’s time to celebrate some high-achieving Black students that have uplifted the community in many ways.

    Sophomore Nick Kelley has been an exceptional student at Reynolds, balancing good grades, sports, a cappella, and theater. Kelley has a combination of talent, hard work, and determination that has set him up for success, in and out of school. 

    “I would say I’ve accomplished a lot in the last few years,” Kelley said. “I have gotten way better at film acting and on-stage acting. I signed with a talent agency and have continued to study at a professional acting studio. Another accomplishment was that I’ve gotten better at lacrosse and am starting to get a better feel for the game.”

    Kelley played Jay Gatsby in the play The Great Gatsby here at Reynolds and is on the varsity lacrosse team as midfield and backup goalie this year. While Kelley’s accomplishments are recognized and celebrated, he believes that there’s not enough representation for minorities at Reynolds. 

Nick Kelley meets actress Maddison Bailey, a star on the hit Netflix show, “Outer Banks”. (Photo provided by Nick Kelly)

    “I think the majority of the student body is minority, but I don’t think there is enough representation,” Kelley said. “We rarely talk about the accomplishments of Black people, and I think it would inform many people if we touched on key points in Black history.”

    Kelley believes that the celebration of Black History Month shows respect to himself and others like him whether that’s the past or the present. 

    “Black History Month means respect for me,” Kelley said. “Recognizing Black lives and histories opens the eyes of people that aren’t as informed as they should be.” 

    Addison Truzy is another student of color that is continuing to make an impact in the community. Truzy is a senior this year and earned the Morehead-Cain scholarship from UNC-Chapel Hill. Truzy’s passion for helping and inspiring others has made her well-known and well-loved in and out of Reynolds. So far, Truzy’s high school experience has been filled with dance, service work, politics, and academic success. 

    “A couple of accomplishments I’ve achieved are being accepted into Governor’s School for the dance discipline, being elected Chair for the Winston-Salem Youth Advisory Council, being Reynolds Homecoming Queen and Queen of Compassion, receiving the Morehead-Cain scholarship, being Assistant Program director for a nonprofit tutoring organization called VIP Tutoring, and being on the Executive Board for Wake Forest College Launch Program,” Truzy said.

Addison Truzy strikes a pose in her Dancing Boots gear. (Photo provided by Addison Truzy)

     Truzy believes that Black History Month is a great opportunity to specifically celebrate African-Americans and should be celebrated more at Reynolds.

    “Black History, to me, is a month where we are able to solely celebrate the achievements and success of Black people nationally and globally,” Truzy said. “It’s a month where African-Americans feel appreciated and celebrated for being who they are.”

    Truzy’s goal is to represent the Black community as a leader and role model at Reynolds. Truzy’s leadership is shown through her dedication to the Boots and academic success. 

    “I believe that there is a lot of Black representation at Reynolds,” Truzy said. “I just wish there was more representation of Black leaders within the Reynolds community, sometimes the stigma towards Black students is attached to negatively connotative words. My goal is to uplift Black students at Reynolds and especially celebrate those who are working to bring positive change to Reynolds and our community.”

    Kelly and Truzy are one among many outstanding students at Reynolds that uplift the Black community through leadership and genuineness.