By Lindsey Clinton, Co-Editor-In-Chief
Marietou Solo Diedhiou: A performer. A sister. A friend. Overachieving in every aspect of life, she pushes herself past any limit she is faced with. Diedhiou evolves more and more each day into the person she dreams of becoming – a person she could find herself looking up to.
“I want to be a teacher. My mom, uncle, grandpa, and grandma were all teachers,” Diedhiou says. “It’s a really amazing thing to give people education; To be there for them.”
Teaching is an underappreciated profession. To many, it is just something to fall back on when you lack direction in life. But Diedhiou has never thought of it this way. Growing up surrounded by teachers, she understands the small elements of the job that tend to be overlooked, much like being a constant support team and caring for students. Even some of her own teachers throughout the years have shown her the same beauty of the profession that her family has. Immediately, New Paltz High School choir director, Nicole Foti came to mind as she reflected on people who have a true passion for teaching. Lost in her own thoughts, Diedhiou explains how Foti would do anything for her students, including buying them an outfit if they didn’t have one.
“When the right person [is teaching]… it is not underwhelming.” Diedhiou begins. “Being able to teach kids at any age is a blessing, and an awesome thing that is underrated and needed.”
Diedhiou’s kind smile is contagious, even under a mask. As she reminisces about moments from her elementary classes, the warmth from her nurturing personality shines through. It is more than evident that she too was cut out to be a teacher.
“I had a really amazing kindergarten and first grade teacher. She taught that whole class how to be people,” Diedhiou says, beaming from ear to ear. “We had these amazing experiences and I never forgot them. I will never forget her.”
Diedhiou continues to grow and find herself throughout high school, grasping at any opportunity that comes her way. But now, in her senior year of high school, she is pulled in many directions daily because of her heavy involvement in the community, school clubs, and preparing for college.
“It all just kind of happened at once. I was just like…I’m going to lose my mind,” Diedhiou says, “But it’s too late. I’m in all the things now. I am making these choices and that is just how it is going to be.”
Although at times her hectic agenda may feel overwhelming, Diedhiou wouldn’t change a thing. She explains that as long as there is “intention” behind something, anyone should feel the freedom to take on whatever they want to. And for Diedhiou, this even means undertaking the project of creating her own performance at her dance studio, Barefoot Dance.
“Barefoot Dance taught me how to dance from the inside,” Diedhiou expresses. “Other places made it feel like you were dancing for someone else. You were dancing for the entertainment of other people. I didn’t want that.”
To Diedhiou, Barefoot Dance is not just a place for performing, but a place to “use your brain and knowledge about semantics.” Unlike the previous dance studios she attended, Diedhiou is able to flourish and showcase her incredible abilities with the opportunities much like completely choreographing her own number.
When her instructor informed that she must incorporate the theme “Retrospective” into her dance, Diedhiou decided to use the moment to shed light on religion. Her mother was raised Catholic and her father is Muslim, but she was brought up in a non religious way. Although Diedhiou is glad she was raised without a religion, she still has a “curiosity” as to what it brings for others. Her exploration of the topic led her to the importance religion had for slaves.
“Having something so terrible as being taken away from their homes and used as slaves… thinking about the sun beating down on these people, my people, who didn’t have a choice,” she remarks. “They used [religion] as something to keep them going.”
Diedhiou spent time on every detail of her dance, from the song to the costumes, to give it the attention it deserved. She used her wonder to create a powerful dance entitled “Blazing Sun”.
With her reflective nature and warmhearted personality Diedhiou continues to leave an ever lasting and memorable impact on anyone she encounters.