Elana Debease: A Human of Northgate


Robyn Clarke, Editor

To junior Elana Debease,  music is so much more than notes strung together; a song is more than lyrics set to a melody. For her,”[m]usic is the language…. I am most fluent in. The most efficient way for me to speak is through song, through an array of chords strung together. Writing, playing and singing are all the ways that I communicate my feelings. Whether it’s a bright day and I’m so ecstatic I can barely speak, or I feel like the pressure of the world rests on my chest, I can always turn to music.”

Music has always been a part of her life. She began playing the ukelele at age seven, and two years later, she began playing her dad’s guitar. A year later, she got her own guitar: an aqua blue instrument with gold trim that gracefully glides along its edges. It was on that guitar that she wrote her first song, “The Pink Dolphin”. “I got home (the day she bought the guitar) and hid in my room for a few hours writing,” Elana recalls. “I ended up with the life story of a dolphin who would never fit in. By the time the song was over, the dolphin realized that it was beautiful just the way it was, and it didn’t need to fit in. People would love it anyways.” To this day, she pours her experiences, thoughts, and feelings into music, and she is currently working on her first album.

Mrs. Diane Dombrowski, Elana’s Writer’s Workshop teacher, says Elana’s in-class performance of “Blackbird” made her cry. “[T]here’s something very vulnerable about it…. There’s an artist there that just breaks out into song.” She describes Elana as a “very creative spirit” and a “great lyricist” who has a “strong sense of words and expression. (Her) bold leadership (inspires) other people to express themselves uninhibitedly.”

In addition to Writer’s Workshop, Elana is taking AP Language, AP Stats, and Advanced Anatomy and Physiology. She is also a part of the Spanish Club, Spanish National Honor Society, Beta Club, and National Honor Society, and her goal is to go to the University of Georgia and minor in medicine. However, she doesn’t “plan on ever giving up music.”

As well as being a phenomenal musician and a great student, Elana is also a wonderful friend. I’ve known her since we were in sixth grade, and I’ve loved watching her grow into the beautiful, strong, and talented young woman she is today. Whether it’s the middle of the afternoon or eleven-thirty at night, Elana is always there to offer advice or encouragement or her honest opinion of the latest thing I’ve written. She puts others before herself and spreads light and kindness everywhere she goes. It’s these qualities, as well as the way she inspires everyone to always be kind and follow their dreams, that set her apart and make her a Human of Northgate.