The National WWII Museum in New Orleans has named Anacostia High School student Andre Davis as a 2018 Billy Michal Student Leadership Award recipient.
The national honor is awarded annually to one student in every state who has maintained a strong record of volunteerism, demonstrates school and community activism, and helps implement creative solutions to recognized problems.
“This award basically solidifies to me that I am an instrument that could help start change,” Andre told The Informer just one day before he was to fly to New Orleans to accept the award.
However, the teen experienced a major scheduling conflict and couldn’t make the ceremony because his graduation from Anacostia taking place at the same time.
The leadership award, which the Museum first presented in 2017, was created in honor of Billy Michal, who was a child living in Louisiana during World War II.
At only 6 years old, Michal helped his one-room school win a statewide scrap paper collection contest during the war, proving that every citizen could contribute to victory.
Michal’s achievement demonstrated the positive impact the American spirit could have on the Home Front war efforts, and he continues to inspire students across America today, officials said in a news release.
Andre, who plans to pursue a degree as an athletic trainer in the fall at Virginia State University, shares his love of athletics with others and has managed both the girls and boys’ varsity basketball teams at Anacostia High School.
He remains active with helping other peers in his community and has worked with Concerned Black Men, Inc.’s D.C. chapter, tutoring area youth. He’s also served as a tutor with Reach Incorporated, helping children excel in reading and math.
“By being a role model in my community helps show young people that there is something out there beyond the community and this award just means the world to me and I am so happy,” Andre said.
Stephen J. Watson, president and CEO at the National WWII Museum, said in a news release that “it’s extremely gratifying to recognize students throughout the nation for the wonderful contributions they make to their local communities.”
During World War II, the country needed everyone to come together for a common goal of securing freedom and democracy around the world, Watson said.
“Much like Billy Michal’s contribution over 70 years ago, our student honorees prove that their positive actions, no matter how big or small, can make a difference in their communities,” he said. “We are proud to honor their accomplishments.”
Andre said he’s inspired by his family, friends and environment in Southeast.
“Going outside every day I know that things can be better,” he said. “Change will come eventually. Yes, things are little rocky, but things always get better. You are the change in the community, just know what you bring. My plans after high school are to go to college but will still be active in my community.”