Youth Spotlight: Shelby Delaney is the heartbeat of Red Canyon High | VailDaily.com

Youth Spotlight: Shelby Delaney is the heartbeat of Red Canyon High

Hillary Higgins
Mountain Youth
In her free time, Shelby Delaney enjoys playing dominos with her family, horseback riding, spending time with her sister, Catherine, playing piano, mountain biking, baking and cooking.
Special to the Daily

Shelby Delaney stood out immediately to me when she walked into my life skills class at Red Canyon High School in Gypsum. I first met Shelby when she was a freshman at RCHS, and I realized she is a leader, inquisitive, smart, and kind with a great fashion sense. She is now a sophomore. 

It was my first time teaching life skills when Shelby was a student in my class. She inspired me to become a better instructor. To this day, Shelby’s feedback and ideas on how I could improve my teaching techniques are instituted in every class I teach. Even adults can follow leadership from a young person.

In this last year, I have watched Shelby grow as a student. She possesses inspirational leadership skills. She does not lead by being the loudest in the room or demanding fellow students to listen to her; she leads by respecting others, validating classmates’ input, and making suggestions. Before the whole class knows it, Shelby has assumed leadership of the activity; you can find her in front of the class, writing on the board, leading the discussion, and organizing her fellow students’ ideas.

“Shelby is an amazing role model for her peers. She has a quiet personality yet when she speaks her classmates intently listen and honor what she has to say. She possesses wisdom beyond her years,” said Linda Dudley, Shelby’s language arts teacher.

Simply put, she is a “silent leader!” Dudley adds. Shelby credits Dudley with being the first teacher to really get to know her and help her improve her math and reading skills. Due to health struggles, Shelby said she missed quite a bit of the fifth grade where she would have learned the fundamentals of reading and math. Shelby also credits Thomas Gibson, her special education teacher, who also constantly supported and encouraged Shelby’s growth academically.

“Shelby is like the mom of school, she keeps everything in order. She is an angel amongst gremlins. She is a really good person, genuine, never has told people what they wanted to hear, but tells them the truth. She is honest and non-judgmental. The word genuine sums her up,” said Clair Evans a junior at RCHS.

Evans also added, “I admire her ability to stay calm in pretty much any situation. She is an amazing person and I am happy to have met her and have her in my life because it does not happen often to have a friend like her.”

RCHS is a place Shelby has thrived in her academics. “I finished all my required English classes for the rest of high school as a sophomore. I was surprised I finished my English credits so fast,” Shelby said.

She looks forward to continuing her education there. Shelby is incredibly ambitious and has completed enough courses to graduate early; but has chosen to enjoy the entirety of her high school career. 

In Shelby’s free time she enjoys playing dominos with her family, horseback riding, spending time with her sister, Catherine, playing piano, mountain biking, baking and cooking. She is known as quite the chef, making her gluten-free lemon cookies and creatively delicious pasta salads for friends and her family to enjoy. Shelby is also an animal lover. Her family adopted their dog, Shadow, when he was just six weeks old from Rifle Animal Shelter.

Shelby is a determined young lady. When she broke her finger, she did not give up on playing piano she learned how to play with one hand. That certainly impressed her piano teacher. Shelby may have inherited some of that determination from her great-grandmother. She is 106 years old, and Shelby likes to visit her in Missouri.

Shelby has unlimited potential. She plans to attend Colorado Mountain College where her parents attended college. She has not decided if she will peruse a culinary degree or teaching degree. She volunteered at Eagle Elementary School working with babies and toddlers. In other volunteer work, she helped with the community food drive.

But for now, Shelby is enjoying her high school career at Red Canyon. “There is more heart in the community of this school than at any other school I have been to,” Shelby said.

As I write this, I realize Shelby is the heartbeat of Red Canyon High School.

Hillary Higgins is a teacher at Red Canyon High School. For more on the mission of Mountain Youth, go to https://www.mountainyouth.org/.