Mr. Pioneer preview: Justin Burkett represents the club that should win ...

There is only one word to describe Justin Burkett: entertainer. Every word, every action, is drenched with wit and charisma. Even his answers to the interview questions came packed with his signature dry humor. But that is because comedy is very important to Burkett. “I really value humor. If you take life too seriously, you’ll never get out of it alive.” Judging by the eloquence of his phrasing, there is a reason why he is managing editor of LSNews.org.
Justin Burkett will represent LSNews.org in the
Mr. Pioneer competition

Justin likes to think that he does nothing productive for the school news. Well, except for representing the club in the Mr. Pioneer competition, but “Ben Pontz put me up to it.” But he has been working on this before it was the LSNews empire that we know today. Way back, when the club was called Limelight, Burkett made the junior editor slot. That has to say something about his ability. Now, as “General Manager,” his preferred title, he helps out with writing articles and planning the articles that the rest of us should construct. His writing shines with a distinct voice, so it is no wonder that many (including myself) enjoy reading Justin’s work. And as managing editor (think vice president), he has to be a leader, but he is no stranger to that position. In middle school, Burkett basically ran the Odyssey of the Mind team. And even when they just missed the Nationals position during his eighth grade year, Justin still managed to keep team spirits high.

As mentioned, Burkett values humor and entertainment. You may have seen him as the showman in Annie Get Your Gun or as the villain in Love Rides the Rails. Admittedly, villains usually are the most compelling characters. The population loves to hate them. Burkett just got into acting here at the high school, but already, he has climbed the ladder to featured roles. What draws him to perform? “In all honesty, I like not being me for a few hours,” he says.

Behind the bravado of a classic evildoer, there is a teenager who just wants to get away from the insane amount of stress thrown at high school students. He also dabbles in work as a comedian. He told some of his jokes to a packed PAC for the Mini-Thon Tonight Show, forming them to fit the classic problems of an adolescent in L-S. He also loves to perform living histories at Rockford Plantation and Wheatland because he “feels more his age there.” Needless to say, Justin Burkett loves what he can do.

In addition to acting and telling jokes, Burkett is involved with music. He just joined the Jazz Band this year, where he plays “rock and roll music” with his electric guitar. He also sings in Madrigals as a bass singer. He really started getting into music when Mr. Gibson assigned that music project about favorite bands in middle school.

“I needed to at least pretend to understand music to get a good grade,” Burkett says.

But from that point on, he started to get interested. I guess the saying “fake it ‘til you make it” really fits here.

As for future plans, this is what he had to say: “Well, I guess I'm going to some college. After that, I'd like to live on a remote island in the tropics, surviving on only fruit, water, and Nintendo. If that doesn't work out, I'll just be a history professor, I guess.”

There is that humor again. It never stops. History does seem to interest Burkett, though, judging by his involvement with the living histories.

When asked why Justin should be Mr. Pioneer, he said, “For one, I think my outfit will best fit the Mr. Pioneer image. If the school wants an embodied mascot, I'm cartoony enough. And I'll stand out. All my costumes are homemade (and I don't have to wear a cocktail dress for the shock value).”

Justin Burkett could definitely be a potential threat during the Mr. Pioneer competition. He knows how to work a crowd, he likes to perform, he has experience performing. So, maybe, he will bring the win home to our beloved club, LSNews.org. At the very least, the audience will not be bored.


--Lillian Murr, LSNews.org School News Editor

Edited: BP

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