March Student Spotlights: Shannon Meeks and Silje Emery

Silje Emery 24 and Shannon Meeks 25 are student spotlights for the month of March
Silje Emery ’24 and Shannon Meeks ’25 are student spotlights for the month of March
Gianna Galesi
Shannon meeks performs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Shannon Meeks: Bassist

Meet Shannon Meeks, only a junior in high school yet exceptionally accomplished in her field of music. Shannon has a funky/jazzy style but predominantly plays in various styles and can appreciate all kinds of music. “I want to continue to share the art of music in all aspects,” Shannon says, as she strives to create a medium for people to physically gather and connect on an emotional level, giving them a reason to dance while also spreading a meaningful message.


Shannon’s musical origins began at the early age of six during her first lessons in piano and music theory. At ten years old, Shannon joined the School of Rock and picked up the bass guitar. She has taken advantage of every opportunity, eventually earning a particularly difficult acceptance into the School of Rock All-Stars program last summer- a program that joins musicians worldwide on an intensive scale.


One of her most memorable experiences was getting called up on stage at Webster Hall in NYC by Blu DeTiger. Shannon describes how it happened: “She had previously commented on a few of my TikToks, and she knew what a big fan I was of hers, so she called me on stage halfway through her show. We jammed for just a few minutes but in that moment I realized that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” In this way, music introduced Shannon to people who have shaped her journey greatly, teaching her how to improve on her instrument, get better at working with a band, and overall how to perform. “I have learned so much about different cultures and genres of music,” Shannon adds, “I truly would not be the musician I am today without the help of all the people that I have met THROUGH music along the way.” 

Shannon has gone on two musical tours as of last summer, taking buses and performing in and out of the country. Her favorite performances include her performance at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. She shares her experience, in which she “got to see some of the coolest bands/musicians ever and was honored to play on their stage. This was also one of my first performances pretty far away from home so it felt cool to perform somewhere I’ve never been before.” Another memorable event was the New Jersey Balloon Festival, as it was one the largest crowds she played in front of- intimidating but a striking achievement in her musical journey. Shannon has even played outside the country, The Biltmore Theatre being her first time and also “one of the most energy-filled and packed shows I have ever performed at,” she describes. 

An extremely talented musician, Shannon Meeks is determined to pursue music profess

ionally in her promising future. As of now, Shannon responds to the rigorous demands of academics and her passion for music by realizing that music is her true calling and making appropriate sacrifices to maximize time for it. Shannon spends several hours each day, from School of Rock rehearsals to weekly private lessons to individual jamming, improving her skills and learning challenging songs. 

Shannon shares her advice to any other aspiring musicians, “I say go for it, but go all in. Music is a tough business and you have to be 100% committed if that is what you want to do. Also, music is beautiful for its genuineness; it is not about how many millions of people you can get to watch or listen to you, it is about the realness of what you create and what that means to YOU. Don’t lose yourself in the idea that you need fame or money to be successful; that will taint your view of the art and take away its original value and purpose in your life.” 

Shannon has a natural talent for music and has worked extremely hard for her goals. She has recently been trying songwriting, so stay tuned for that! She also has many shows in the coming months and a tour is being planned for this summer. Be sure to support her and stay tuned to her music through her TikTok and Instagram account, @theshannonmeeks, where she posts her wonderful covers, achievements, and upcoming events!

Shannon meeks performs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (John Epstein)
Silje Emery, the creator of the new Christian club, smiles for a selfie
Silje Emery: Creator of LiFE Club

Silje Emery is a Bernards High senior, a rising D1 softball player at Holy Cross, and now a new club founder. Over the last few months, she has been dedicated to starting a faith-based Christian club, the LiFE (Living For Eternity) club. Her startup was sparked by her ceramics project, “Basquiat and Me” which allowed her to connect with fellow Christians. This cardboard creation, following artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s style, displayed a summary of what is meaningful to Silje- faith is a key component of her identity. 


Silje’s faith informs her passion for the Christian club. She describes, “with the support of my family, friends, and my church, I have been encouraged to pursue this club. Liquid Church provides me with an additional outlet of people I can reach out to almost anytime; including my worship team. Similarly, at my church, I have had the opportunity to build relationships within my small group, in which we discuss questions composed by our youth group team. Guided by faith, I want to create a similar opportunity to build a community.” 

Silje has been involved with several outreach events at her church. Recently, she volunteered at her church event, Night To Shine. At this event, Silje describes, “I was blessed to spend time with friends and enjoy a night celebrating people with special needs for their own prom. As they were crowned king and queen, they spent the night dancing, singing, getting their own makeup/hair done, taking pictures/videos in a Photo Booth 360, riding in a limousine, and had therapy dogs to assist.” During this special night, Silje and her friends were able to assist with

the Photo Booth 360 activity.


Being the faith-based club at the high school currently, Silje acknowledges that there might be some challenges. However, she addresses this by saying “it is important to know that this Christian club is an open door – anybody is welcome! We strive to draw anyone, regardless of any background or walk of life, to a closer understanding and connection with God and the people of faith at BHS.” Silje recognizes that although the club has not officially started yet, there may be some hurdles to overcome but such challenges are part of the journey. “I am going out of my comfort zone but I am excited to see what God has in store for this club and the ways we can strengthen our faith through this experience. God has already blessed me with other members who have been willing to help mold this LiFE club,” Silje says, “Through prayer and faith, I can only trust that God will provide for students to learn and to thrive through this club.” 


Silje is working tirelessly to improve the club’s launch, considering collaborations with organizations and churches to support the club’s initiatives. Some of her ideas for the club include activities like faith-based music, worship sessions, bible study, debrief sessions where students can have discussions in a safe space, outreach in a community while sharing the love of Christ in service opportunities, game days, and fundraising. “We are excited to add on to the ideas of the club,” Silje says, “and figure out what the students are interested in contributing to the club.” 


As the founder, Silje emphasizes, “I want to build a community. Although this club maintains and encourages Christian values, the community we foster hopes to draw anyone, regardless of any background or walk of life, to a closer understanding and connection with God and the people of faith at BHS.”

Silje Emery, the creator of the new Christian club, smiles for a selfie (Silje Emery)
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