Courtney Givens is a 2005 Danville High School graduate and currently works as a senior people partner for CNN. She lives in Atlanta. She describes herself as a “diehard” University of Louisville and Bengals fan and serves on the UofL African-American Alumni Council.
She graduated from UofL herself in 2009, where she received her bachelor’s degree in communications and her master’s degree in human resources education in 2011.
A “throwback fact” from her time as a student with Danville Independent Schools was when she received a standing ovation for her solo tap performance in fifth grade.
The DISD asked Givens about her Danville Schools journey.
Tell us about your Danville Schools journey. What school(s) did you attend, and what’s a highlight that stands out to you?
I attended Edna L. Toliver Elementary, Bate Middle School and Danville High School. Each school felt familial. I had teachers who either taught family or were family friends. It felt like they were invested in my success.
What aspects of your Danville Schools education helped mold you into the person you are today?
My involvement in extracurricular activities. Beginning in middle school, I was a peer mediator. Those skills continue to help me today in HR as I work to build relationships and be in a position of influence. I’m able to see all perspectives, be analytical and think logically as well as get to the root of a problem.
My involvement in forensics in high school helped instill confidence in me when it comes to public speaking. I’m comfortable speaking in front of an audience. I’m comfortable speaking impromptu. I often role-play with leaders in my current role going through scenarios, especially when it comes to difficult conversations. My acting skills? … Still got it!
When you think back on your Danville Schools experience, are there specific instances or relationships that stand out to you as having had a significant impact on your success since graduating?
My 9th grade English teacher, Steve Meadows, was so invested in convincing me to join forensics. I didn’t understand at the time, but he helped me grow as a speaker and performer. I owe my confident tone to him.
I also made sure I was involved in many different things outside of the day-to-day. That exposed me to groups outside of my close friends circle: softball my freshman and sophomore years, forensics, choir, yearbook staff, senior class president, et cetera.
As a product of Danville Schools, what advice would you give to a parent who was choosing an education path for their child?
I would first encourage parents to be visible by participating at school by helping with functions and activities and communicating with teachers. Secondly, begin career option conversations at an early age, and help them research different careers, and assist them with locating opportunities to shadow someone or others in their fields of interest.
As a product of Danville Schools, what drives you to give back to your local school and/or district?
I’m appreciative of the influence it continues to have in my life. Now I know educators in the district, and my friends have kids enrolled at all levels. I want them to have fun, positive experiences just like I did. I love Danville and always want to see the Danville Schools thrive.
This piece is part of an ongoing series telling the stories of our Danville Alumni! We share a new alumni story once a month, and we want YOUR story. If you or someone you know is a Danville graduate and an excellent representative of the Danville community and the idea of #SuccessForALL, whether they live in Danville or not, please fill out the form linked below. You can also show your Danville Alumni pride on social media with the hashtag #DanvilleAlumniStories
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