Alabama School of Fine Arts
David Finestein, a senior at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, cofounded Youth Media Group in 2015. This organization worked as a casting company for film and theatre productions in the state. In 2014, he was selected from many nominees to participate in the Birmingham Youth Leadership Forum, an intensive leadership program. Accomplishments such as these are even more impressive when one considers that David is a cancer survivor.
In 2014, David was diagnosed with lymphoma, a cancer that starts in cells that are part of the body’s immune system. He endured grueling cancer treatments which necessitated missing many day of school – and yet David did everything possible to continue just like the other students. David’s studies are centered in the Math & Science Department at ASFA, and all of his faculty noted how well he was able to continue his demanding studies through the rigors of chemotherapy, hospital admissions, missed time, and feeling sick. Dr. Dominique Linchet wrote, “David was insistent that he did not want to be treated differently than his peers and that he expected to be held accountable the same ways as they were…I was humbled by his resolve as he faced both his disease and his responsibilities with courage and maturity.”
Happily, David is now in remission and well on track to continue his academic performance and live a normal, successful life.
A leader among his classmates, David serves as the treasurer of Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society, one of ASFA’s most active co-curricular student groups. In addition to holding part-time jobs, David participates in the math/science outreach for urban and rural middle schools and volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and the Cahaba River Cleanup.
David is both an independent young man who does not desire to burden others and a creative, adaptable, humorous person who interacts well with both peers and adults. Resilient and self-reliant, David does not falter in the face of hardships; he conquers them. In salute to such spirit, David Finestein is recognized by his school and our state as one of the 2016 Young Heroes of Alabama.