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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

THE POWER OF ONE Our Award Winner’s Mission to Improve Her Community

by Annie Reisener

D

elanya Storey is an exceptional high school senior. It’s immediately clear that she’s a debater—she is confident and precise when she speaks. She’s exceptionally poised and her list of extracurriculars and volunteer work is bursting at the seams. She’s a member of five honor societies and four clubs. She facilitates college panels for her peers, leads service projects, organizes volunteer weekends, and mentors new students at her high school, Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School. Outside of school, she serves on two youth advisory committees that serve the Birmingham community and volunteers at Children’s of Alabama, a local pediatric hospital. She enjoys art, specifically renaissance, impressionist, and surrealist art pieces. As we begin chatting, she mentions that she spent her weekend at the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma. To be honest, I’m a little exhausted just listening to her schedule! But Delanya isn’t just involved; she’s a leader who has taken her speech and debate skills out of the classroom and into her community. When she sees a need, she reaches out to fill it. In March, Delanya was chosen as the inaugural recipient of the National Speech & Debate Association’s 2017 Exemplary Student Service Award, in large part due to her service on the Birmingham AIDS Outreach Youth

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ROSTRUM | SPRING 2017

Delanya Storey is the recipient of the NSDA’s 2017 Exemplary Student Service Award. She has been accepted at Harvard and recently was recognized in Washington, D.C., as a Horatio Alger National Scholar.

Advisory Council. When Delanya attended the Birmingham AIDS Walk, the experience lit a fire in her, and when she found herself in a new leadership role, her speech and debate skills gave her the tools and the confidence she needed to lead her peers. After completing intense training, she now counsels individuals who have been diagnosed with HIV about their treatment options, connects them to follow up care, and serves as a support system as they come to terms with their diagnosis. Delanya often thinks of how one woman explained her personal

When you’re helping others, you can never really underestimate your power as one person to make a difference. — Delanya Storey, 2017 Exemplary Student Service Award Recipient

experience with contracting HIV. “Hearing about how negatively her friends and family treated her after her diagnosis really opened my eyes,” Delanya says. “I learned to see from her perspective a little better, and it drove me to get more involved.” Not only has Delanya worked directly with those diagnosed with the virus in her community, but she also strives to impact sexual education in Alabama. She works with others on the council to educate her peers about HIV prevention and plan local events. She’s motivated not just by helping those affected by the disease, but by an urge to decrease stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. “I have a desire to change things in society,” she says. “There have been a lot of advancements in treatment for HIV and AIDS. People need to understand that they have options.” Delanya is also involved with the Addiction Prevention Coalition Youth Advisory Council. Her coach Vegas Longlois notes that speech and debate plays a role in Delanya’s leadership role with the council. “She uses her strong public speaking skills and ability to listen well to host discussions on addiction, healthy relationships, and other issues facing young adults in her school,” Vegas says. Then Delanya reports back on the results of those conversations to the Council. She credits speech and debate with helping her become comfortable running discussions and walking a fine

Profile for Speech & Debate

2017 Spring Rostrum  

Volume 91 Issue 4

2017 Spring Rostrum  

Volume 91 Issue 4