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As I reminisce about my time in high school, my mind is consumed with memories of all that Enloe has provided me. Memories of freshmen year football games, where the student section chanted every cheer known to man while simultaneously losing 30-2, dance across my mind. Sophomore year friendships still keep me warm as we enter into the 50-degree weather that Raleighites like to call “winter”. Junior year workload prepared me for any obstacle, letting me know that I can overcome most challenges with a little determination. I have yet to figure out what senior year will bring, but, so far, this year is all that has been promised. However, despite the special privileges and benefits, senior year is still stomach wrenchingly and mind-blowingly frightening. 

It’s hard to accept that this year marks the end of everything that I know; everything that I am comfortable with, everything that I consider to be my home. I will no longer be able to go to the State Fair and smell the sweet scent of honey glazed turkey (this could be a blessing in disguise). It will be my last homecoming, my last prom…and potentially the most meaningful, my last Enloe Charity Ball (ECB). 

It is difficult to imagine extracting myself from an effort to which I have dedicated four years of my life. ECB has encouraged me to collaborate and share ideas and opinions in an open environment, which has lead me to understand myself on a deeper level and also further understand the people that I am surrounded by on a day-to-day basis. I have been pushed to take a step back and truly understand some of the very real and frightening threats and crises that are occurring in our own backyard. Participating in ECB has been a privilege as it has allowed me to have a positive impact on my local community in a real and tangible way.

This year, ECB is raising money for Southeast Raleigh Promise (SERP) to help combat intergenerational poverty and gentrification in the Rock Quarry corridor. Although SERP is a relatively young organization, you would be overwhelmed with the amount of energy and passion they contribute to their mission. SERP is leading revitalization within Southeast Raleigh by engaging community members, building partnerships, and investing in five key areas: Education, Affordable Housing, Health & Wellness, Economic Opportunity, and Leadership Development. Intergenerational poverty will not be solved overnight, but together we can work towards dismantling the system and the environment that perpetuated the cycle and replace it with a system that allows for all people to not only survive but thrive. 

Between now and December 7th, I plan to spend many long afternoons, late nights, and early mornings working on Charity Ball and the passion I have for our mission allows me to embrace the chaotic schedule that comes with it. Although my work for ECB is coming to an end, the mission of ECB will continue with the next generation of student council leaders. As I sit, mired in the uncertainty of my future, I’m unsure of how the rest of my story will unfold. However, I find peace in knowing that ECB will continue to make massive strides towards making Raleigh, our home, a better place for all. 

Sydney Marks 
Vice President of Service 

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