Delaney McNally, Senior, Loveland High School
Loveland High senior Delaney McNally has always liked to stay busy. Her list of activities and interests is mind-boggling, and even during the Coronavirus pandemic, she has managed to fill her time – whether it’s playing with her new puppy Ogma and her five-year-old boxer Quinn, finding creative ways to run the purpose project she started in 2014, or preparing for college and the next phase of her life.
“I like learning new and different things,” Delaney explains, going through her extensive list of hobbies, which includes knitting, baking, biking and rock climbing -- and those are just the things she does in her free time.
Delaney is also a captain on the varsity swim team, LHS Student Council treasurer, a volunteer for KidsPak, and a member of National Honor Society. She plans to go to the University of Colorado-Boulder after she graduates in May, and is excited about their biomedical engineering program.
Delaney’s dad is a physician’s assistant in an emergency room, and her mom, who was just elected to the Board of County Commissioners for Larimer County, has a degree in kinesiology. “I think I get my drive to serve from my mom and my science exposure from my dad,” Delaney says. Originally, Delaney wanted to be a doctor, but eventually she realized what she actually wanted to do was be in a lab helping doctors do their jobs. She describes biomedical engineering as “engineering concepts within the human body.”
Delaney thinks it is her love of math that makes her apply facts and figures to her many interests. “I was raised on doing my research. If you’re going to say something, you need to have the facts to back it up,” she says.
Another of Delaney’s passions is Generation Connect, the purpose project she created when she was in middle school and now runs with a team, partnering with organizations at Colorado State University and in the Larimer County community. Delaney had the idea for the group after her grandfather spent months in the hospital after a surgery. As the family gathered to see him when he was able to return home, he admonished everyone for their disconnect, and told them to put down their phones and talk to him. “After he said that, I looked around the room and realized he was right: Every one of us was on our phones.”
As a result, Delaney created Generation Connect to encourage people to put down technology and connect with the people around them. The organization hosts events for people from different generations and backgrounds to get together and talk to each other. Since the pandemic began last spring, Generation Connect has hosted virtual events, maintaining the goal of providing people with opportunities to connect. “Our team creates such a safe place to talk,” she says.
With all of her many responsibilities, Delaney says she has had to learn how to balance everything, a lesson that has not always come easy. “I know my limits now and how much I can take,” she says. “I am busy, but I’ve learned if I can’t handle something, I ask for help or say no.”
She also says she and her senior classmates can’t wait for normalcy to return to their lives once the pandemic is over. “I miss the little things - seeing a favorite teacher every day, just being with people,” she says but adds that she thinks there may still be good things to come from this. “I think people are going to not take these things for granted anymore after this.”