South Fork High School Senior Set to Change the World
International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. Student Body President. Youth In Government State Supporting Officer. Relay for Life Team Secretary. Kovner Foundation Opportunity Scholar. Soroptimist International Women of Distinction Rising Star. National Honor Society Member. Spanish National Honor Society Member.
For those wondering, this isn't a list of titles or accomplishments a student might try to achieve while in high school. It's the actual (partial) resume of Nicole Daly, a member of South Fork High School’s Class of 2019 who has accomplished a great deal as a student, volunteer and community activist in the last four years. Equally passionate about academics, civic involvement and health issues that impact teens, Nicole has served as a member of the Martin County Drug and Alcohol Abuse Awareness Committee (DAAC) and as the Co-Founder of the Martin County Chapter of Friday Night Done Right, an evidence-based initiative designed to prevent substance abuse by providing teens with positive, alternative events.
"Through my membership in the DAAC and my first-hand experience as a high school student, I became hyper-aware of the devastating trend of substance abuse in teenagers," Nicole shares. "We needed a change; too many of my peers abuse alcohol, vapes, and marijuana. I formed a local chapter of Friday Night Done Right [and] recruited my hardest working peers to be part of the leadership team. We acquired sponsors and advertised. Our first event, Friday Night Done Right’s Summer Kickoff, was a tremendous success. Around 100 high school students came from across Martin County to enjoy substance-free fun --free food, an escape room, a DJ, blow-up attractions, and a plethora of light-up goods."
Additional events followed, including popular “pop-up” events for local teens who pledged to remain substance free.
“Last month, we were able to distribute 20 free tickets for students to see a movie, [and we’re] working to schedule additional pop-up events, create local legislation to combat the trend of teen vaping and host a youth dialogue day wherein a diverse group of teens can voice their opinions in an open forum with school administrators and local leaders,” she explains.
Nicole’s dedication to the safety and mental wellness of her peers intensified as she joined the nation in mourning the tragedy that occurred in Parkland, Florida, in 2018.
“After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I wrote an opinion editorial for my school’s newspaper about gun control as a strategy to combat gun violence. My article led to an invitation to speak at the Martin County March for Our Lives Rally. After a few other students and I voiced our concerns, the Martin County School Board and Sheriff’s Office decided not to pursue the Guardian Program in our school district.”
Understanding the urgency of the situation and wanting to make sure that teens’ voices were heard, Nicole began organizing voter registration drives at South Fork. She secured a spot as a regular panelist on WSTU/1450 AM’s “Treasure Coast Forum” political talk show, and was named the Martin County School Board’s 2018-2019 Student Representative, where she was tasked with presenting monthly reports to the Board on current events and initiatives taking place in District high schools.
As a State Supporting Officer in the YMCA’s Youth in Government (YIG) program, Nicole has published articles addressing some of Florida’s top issues and areas of concern. In her role as the YIG Surgeon General, she drafted a proposal to combat the state’s opioid epidemic by implementing a screening process and medication-assisted treatment plan for opioid-dependent inmates in jails and prisons. She is also working to develop legislation that targets other health-related priorities, such as mental wellness and LGBTQ+ welfare. Excited to build upon what she has learned and accomplished thus far, Nicole is looking forward to expanding her knowledge and civic involvement as a college student in the fall.
“I am looking forward to attending Swarthmore College where I can further my community involvement and passion for civic engagement through a major in political science or sociology/anthropology,” she shares.
No matter what major or career field she decides to pursue, one thing is certain - Nicole will use her passion, voice and influence to change the world. Her time as a standout scholar in the Martin County School District has proven she's well-versed in the art of making an impact.