To most people, ASB typically means Associated Student Body.
Sure, it’s the literal interpretation, but it wasn’t how Devonte Gorman, East Valley High School’s ASB president, perceived it.
ASB meant All Students Belong. He expressed that to his classmates at the ASB assembly on the third day of school. He wanted his presence as student body president to be inclusive.
“He said we need to have an assembly because we need to tell everybody that ASB is not Associated Student Body, it’s not this elite group of people. It’s that all students belong,” said Brenda Gaver, East Valley’s leadership teacher and ASB coordinator. “He said every activity we were going to do was going to be for all students.”
And Gorman doesn’t just talk the talk. He walks the walk.
He and other ASB members organized the school’s first Unite Week this year. During homecoming, he told the entire school that none of the ASB members was going with dates but as a big group and everyone was welcome to join.
When some EVHS students were posting polls on their Twitter accounts that came off as offensive and exclusionary to others, Gorman spearheaded a video project that outlined how and why they were hurtful.
It’s just Gorman’s nature, according to his mother, Donna Gorman.
“Including others is very important to him,” she said. “That everyone had a chance to be included and be heard and join in.”
That personality trait may come from his personal identity.
Devonte was adopted by Donna Gorman when he was 1 1/2 years old. Making sure everyone feels involved and feels like they have a purpose is important to Devonte.
Devonte has had personal success, but it hasn’t lessened his concern for others. Along with being a successful basketball player and soccer player for the Knights, Gorman is the first student from EVHS to earn an Act Six Scholarship, awarded to students from Tacoma, Seattle or Spokane who are emerging leaders and aspire to make a difference on campus and in their communities.
Gaver witnessed a change in his behavior from his junior to senior year in their leadership class. At first he wanted to be in ASB to be in the spotlight – and sometimes goof off with his friends.
Now he’s determined to make a difference.
“He’s grown from somebody I just wanted to strangle at times,” Gaver joked, “to just this amazing kid. I mean he’s seriously just the best leader that I’ve ever worked with as far as students go.”
She recommended him for the Act Six scholarship at the beginning of the year.
That turning point was nice to see for his mother as well.
“I think for a long time sports was his focus and I think it was really nice to see him the last few years to turn it more toward academics,” she said. “Because he was always an amazing athlete, but I think academics is going to take him where he wants to be.”
Obtaining the Act Six scholarship paved the way for Gorman to attend his dream school, Whitworth University, where he plans to play on the soccer team.
Until then, Gorman is busy putting the final stamp on his legacy. But he’s not in it alone; he has the help of his fellow students.
He thinks East Valley is a better place now: a place that boasts an environment conducive to inclusion. A school students don’t just have to attend, but want to attend.
A place without barriers.
“He really spearheaded bringing the school together as a community and showing their spirit and making everyone feel a part of the community,” Gaver said.
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