McCallie senior boarding student Zyan Wynn, from Atlanta, has been named a winner of the 2019 Billy Michal Student Leadership Award by the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Zyan is the first McCallie student ever to receive this award.
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. As Tennessee’s recipient for 2019, Zyan will accept the award in New Orleans at the Museum’s American Spirit Awards program May 22-23.
“Zyan Wynn is a force of nature, and it’s no surprise that he would win this amazing award,” said Dr. Duke Richey, McCallie’s Howard Baker ‘43 Chair of American History. “He throws himself into everything he chooses to do, and he devotes much of his limited spare time to helping others. He represents he contributes to his school and his community every day, and I’m so happy to see him earn this recognition for his efforts.”
The leadership award, which the museum first presented in 2017, was created in honor of Billy Michal, a child living in Louisiana during World War II. At only six 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 homefront war efforts, and he continues to inspire students across America today.
“It’s extremely gratifying to recognize students throughout the nation for the wonderful contributions they make to their local communities,” said Stephen J. Watson, president and CEO of The National WWII Museum. “During World War II, our country needed everyone to come together for a common goal of securing freedom and democracy around the world. 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. We are proud to honor their accomplishments.”
Wynn has been involved in a multitude of service projects in his time at McCallie, and he is a leader in and out of the classroom. He has taken a leadership role in the school’s yearly day of service during each of his four years at McCallie, and he has helped organize several charitable efforts and service projects. In 2018, he was a national finalist in the National History Day competition with his documentary film about Carter Woodson, the man who invented Negro History Week, which eventually evolved into Black History Month. His film was shown in the Oprah Winfrey Theater at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture on the mall in Washington, D.C.