9 who shine: Walking into the political arena

To hear Daylan Woodall tell it, his life changed the day the Vincent Middle/High School faculty nominated him to attend Alabama Boys State.

“My parents always taught me that if given the opportunity, you should make the best of it,” he said.

He took his opportunity at Boys State and parlayed it into a crash course in politics, as he was elected governor and given the chance to go to Boys Nation, a gathering of Boys State attendees from all over the country.

“Boys State levels the playing field. The fact that I could come from a small school and succeed on such a grand scale really showed me I can do anything,” he said. “Boys State really showed me that if I want to achieve, it’s my responsibility to do so.”

Woodall’s interest in political workings only deepened when he traveled with a group of Vincent High faculty and students to see the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Woodall said he gleaned a sense of hope from watching Obama’s rise to prominence.

“He has naysayers, but won’t let his naysayers limit him. He has challenges, but he rises to the challenge,” Woodall said.

This fall, Woodall will head off to Montgomery to study communications and creative writing at Huntingdon College. However, he has goals beyond the next four years: he hopes to study trial law at Samford University, and then perhaps move beyond the boundaries of Alabama.

“I do have political aspirations. I would like to be a U.S. senator,” he said, laughing. “I care so much about our country. As President Obama says, I am my brother’s keeper. Being involved with government and politics gives me a way to chart my growth as a person.”