Creative Writer Named Presidential Scholar


Delali Ayivor will be honored in Washington D.C.

Delali Ayivor, a creative writing student at Interlochen Arts Academy, has been named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. The 18 year-old senior is the 41st Arts Academy student to earn the distinction of being named a Presidential Scholar. 

As a Presidential Scholar, Ayivor will travel to Washington D.C. to be honored with 140 other scholars from around the country during several days of activities, including a trip to meet President Barack Obama at the White House in late June.  

“I feel kind of unworthy,” said Delali. “It seems like such a gigantic honor for some poems. But it’s nice to know someone cares and appreciates what you’re doing – because it doesn’t always happen that way when you’re an artist.”

“Delali has always been a joy to have in class,” said Michael Delp, instructor of creative writing at Interlochen Arts Academy. “Her work is infused with a beautiful sense of place, carried by an incredibly lyrical voice. She is focus and self-directed without being locked inside her own consciousness. She has been an outright gift to me as a student.”  

Upon their selection as Presidential Scholars, recipients of the honor are asked to select their most influential and inspiring teacher. This person is also invited to Washington D.C. to be honored as a “Distinguished Teacher” by the Department of Education. Delali identified Michael Delp as the teacher who has played such a role. It is the fifth time Mr. Delp has been honored in this way by a Presidential Scholar. 

Delali came to Interlochen Arts Academy as a sophomore and majored in creative writing. Although she was born in Houston, Delali has experienced life in several countries outside the U.S. including South Africa, Ivory Coast and Ghana, her father’s home country where her parents currently live. Delali plans to attend Reed College in Portland, Oregon this fall where she will major in English.

The Presidential Scholars program was created in 1964 to honor academic achievement. It was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. At the request of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA) nominates students for consideration after an extensive talent search program.