Huntsville High School
Danielle Davis is a senior at Huntsville High School. She is a student who has challenged herself in advanced placement coursework, maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout her high school years. She spends her time serving as the co-captain of her school’s cheer team and volunteering in many ways. Danielle is a model student, and few could imagine the obstacles she has already faced and conquered in her journey.
Danielle was born to parents who both struggled with substance abuse issues. At the age of two, she was removed from her mother’s home and placed in the care of her grandmother, who suffered from unregulated diabetes and limited mobility. Danielle became the caretaker for her grandmother at a young age – checking her blood pressure, wrapping her feet, reminding her to take medications, and dressing her surgical wounds.
In 2015, Danielle’s grandmother passed away, and Danielle moved in with her 25-year-old aunt, who had just graduated from college. As her aunt was just starting her career, it took all her resources to maintain the household bills. Danielle had to work up to 15 hours a week in a part-time job while managing her AP course load and extracurricular activities.
At one point, Danielle’s father got “clean,” and the two of them were able to rekindle a relationship. It was not to last, though. Her father died in July of 2019 – just before the start of Danielle’s senior year.
Nothing could stop Danielle, though. She is a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta (math honor society), and she is the current president of her school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). She has remained on the Academic Honor Roll throughout high school and has been recognized with many academic awards, including the Yale Book Award and academic achievements awards in Chemistry and English. In addition to her cheerleading, Danielle is a trained film actress. Her AP English Language teacher, Ms. Bishop, said of her, “I have taught high-achieving students for more than 25 years, and Danielle is hands-down one of the most outstanding students I have ever encountered. She is brilliant, deeply thoughtful, and respectful or others’ ideas and opinions. She is a talented leader, one that is humble and unassuming. It was an honor to be her teacher. She is incredibly motivated to improve her own life, and she is dedicated to improving the lives of others as well. Her impact on me was significant, and her impact on the world will be huge. I will not forget how she made our classroom and Huntsville High a better place.”
Volunteer work is important to Danielle. She assists with Special Olympics and serves as one of her school ambassadors for a suicide awareness program called SPEAK (Suicide, Prevention, Empower, Awareness, Knowledge). She is a volunteer with Burritt On the Mountain and Little Panther Camp (a cheerleading instructional camp for children). A Certified Safe Sitter, she is active in childcare at Lincoln Missionary Church.
Life did not give Danielle an easy start, but she refused to let the circumstances hold her down. She said, “If you don’t have anything, complaining about your circumstances won’t change it. Take what you have been given and do the most with it.” For her perseverance and extraordinary maturity, Danielle is recognized by her school and our state as one of the five 2020 Young Heroes of Alabama.