Senior impacts music department, volleyball team
Two years ago senior McKensy Neal came to FC in search of a close community with new experiences. Arriving at the school with a passion for singing and playing volleyball, Neal has become an influential member of both girls ensemble and the varsity volleyball team. Looked up to by many at the school, she has proven herself to be a leader on campus.
Neal has loved singing since childhood and encouraged by her mother, Nancy Neal, she worked to develop her skills and become the singer she is today. After finding out about choir in 2nd grade, Neal jumped at the idea and has participated in choir or ensemble every year since.
“I’ve been in choir since about second grade,” Neal said. “The opportunity opened up to me and I just kind of took it. My mom and I have been singing since basically forever. The first video I have of me singing was when I was two, singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to my little sister when she was born.”
As a senior member of girls ensemble, Neal has become a role model to many of the younger members. She has been an active member of ensemble since she first came in 2016 despite challenges facing her; they already held auditions the previous year and were not accepting new members.
Determined to express herself in a more challenging experience than choir, she did not back down in her persistence to join. Eventually, the ensemble instructor, Susan Ainley, decided to give her an audition and was immediately persuaded.
Ensemble and choir instructor, Susan Ainley, recounts her time with Neal.
“She is fantastic, it’s like she has always gone to school here,” Ainley said. “Mckensy was a good fit right from the start as she’s super friendly and has an amazing singing voice. She’s just one of those people you want to have around.”
In addition to singing, Mckensy formed a love of volleyball during fifth grade when her father, Mike Neal, encouraged her to join the school team at Red Bank Elementary School. For four years, she continued to play until eventually stopping after eighth grade due to other players. When Mckensy enrolled in Clovis West High School freshman year, the team feel was completely different. She felt uncomfortable with the other players and decided not to continue playing volleyball.
Nancy Neal was not appreciative of the atmosphere at Clovis West. She reflects on how they made their decision to leave.
“Changing schools was a big decision,” Neal said. “We prayed about it a lot and made the decision together. Kensy wasn’t connecting with good friends or very happy at her previous school. We knew something had to be done about it.”
When Neal knew she was coming to Fresno Christian, the first thing she did was join the varsity volleyball team. Starting practice during the summer of ‘16, she quickly bonded with many players, including one of her now good friends Kamryn Schultz, ’19. This year, both McKensy and Kamryn are co-captains with high hopes for the year.
Larry Maddox is entering his first year coaching at FC. He describes Neal and her interactions with the team as positive.
“McKensy is a great leader and very smart player,” Maddox said. “She looks to hit the open spots and moves the ball around very well. She worked well with other players and helps to motivate them. You could definitely call her a natural leader and say that many on the team look up to her.”
As a senior, McKensy is confronting the challenge of where to apply for college and how to spend her last year in high school. She has two colleges in mind currently, with both offering great opportunities to further her passion of singing and playing volleyball. Currently, McKensy is applying to Sonoma State University and California State University Monterey Bay. Her final decision is going to be made based on what they offer and what they decide on as a family.
For more profiles, read Profile: Carlee Whipple leads cheer team with passion, experience. For another article, read Pokiland introduces tasty combo.@thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.
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