Audrey McNeal is a junior at Harrison High School in Kennesaw. She founded the first political debate club in her school's history called Political Converse. The club brings together all students of any race, political affiliation, or ethnic group to converse on national and global issues that matter. Each discussion is open to the community and moderated by prominent leaders, such as the Assistant Debate Coach of Harvard College and the Mayor of Kennesaw. This year, Audrey expanded these conversations as a founding member of the community group, Stronger Together, which works to solve issues with racial discrimination in Cobb County Schools. Within Stronger Together, Audrey co-founded the Cobb County Black Student Union and hosts community events, called Listening Journeys, which are held monthly at Unity North Atlanta Church. A Documentary Series, America To Me is featured, and anonymous black students from the district-wide Black Student Union speak live to the audience from an unseen, secure place within the church about parts of the documentary that closely relate to them. Audrey's organization invites Board of Education members, school administrators, and County Commissioners to the Listening Journeys, in order to advocate for positive policy change. Audrey's efforts have gained recognition from a member of the Nobel Peace Prize family for "World Betterment." Audrey's initiatives to improve race relations have inspired greater harmony, more discussions, and grassroots advocacy for both equity and equality.
2019 – GEORGIA