2019 – MASSACHUSETTS
Soleil Kelly is a senior at the Advanced Math and Science Academy in Marlborough. She is the president and founder of the Black Student Union (BSU) at the school, the first in the region, and is also a captain of the Varsity Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field teams. In addition, she is a member of the Speech and Debate team and Spanish Honors Society. Soleil started the BSU in hopes that it would become a safe space for black students at AMSA to share their experiences with peers of similar ethnic and cultural backgrounds. It is also meant to be a place where students of non-African descent can come to listen to the daily trials faced by their peers that they are not privy to. Every week, the club meets to discuss not only what has happened in the school community, but also in the black community at large. In addition to the benefit that the BSU has for its members, it has improved the racial intelligence of the school community. Through social media (on Instagram @amsa.bsu), the group shares interesting articles, historical events, and international music. Last year, the club also prepared and taught lessons on racism for middle school students at AMSA. Soleil hopes that those who have been helped by the BSU, whether by gaining a support network during a turbulent time at school or getting a barber recommendation after moving to a new city, will continue to support the same club that was established in 2016. Although leadership will change from year to year, she hopes that the core value of open discussion without judgment will remain.