March 10, 2015

“You guys are at the best school ever,” Morin Delano ’05 told members of Culver Girls Academy. “There is not one day that goes by when I don’t think about Culver.”

Whether it is her friends, her instructors, or her favorite places, Delano said she mentally finds herself coming back to campus. That is because she found herself at Culver. She developed as a whole person – mind, body, and spirit – “to become this girl.”

And “I am This Girl” was the theme of this year’s Culver Women’s Celebration. Delano, who is the co-founder of the Leadership Committee for Africa and a past senior prefect, said CGA prepared her to handle “what life threw at me.”

Born in Nigeria and raised in London, Delano said she was fully prepared to attend boarding school in England. But her family moved to the United States. That led to her to “stumbling upon Culver.”

Delano was raised to believe she was put on this earth “for a reason.” That belief pushed her to make the most of her time at Culver. She worked hard to earn the CGA Council Secretary position. That leadership post taught her to become a good listener, take effective notes, and “take everything in.” Skills that she uses in her work today. She gradually rose through the leadership ranks in her dorm, CGA Council, and was eventually named Senior Prefect.

Delano with the Leadership Committee for Africa, the group she co-founded in 2004. With her are advisers Angie Fulton '96 and Nancy McKinnis.

Delano with the Leadership Committee for Africa, the group she co-founded in 2004. With her are advisers Angie Fulton ’98 and Nancy McKinnis.

Those leadership positions taught her patience, how to work with different groups, talk with older people of authority, and to “speak up for myself,” she said.

“Culver prepares you for every aspect of your life.”

But life at Culver wasn’t a completely happy experience, she added. When she first came, she was taller than most the other girls, her British accent was difficult for some people to understand, and on civvies nights, she couldn’t wear other girls’ high heels because her feet were a size 10, plus heels just made her taller. “I was so self-conscious,” Delano said. “I hated that. It was horrible.”

When she was Senior Prefect, Delano was only 16, and she hid that from the other girls. She was afraid they wouldn’t respect her because she was younger. But she began to realize that she had to embrace who she was and be “just be me.”

It was during this time that she asked leadership instructor Nancy McKinnis about finding a way she could help other people. “You pushed me,” Delano told McKinnis, who was in the audience, “And I was able to find myself.” The result was the creation of the Leadership Committee for Africa, which is now celebrating its 10th year of operation.

Delano graduated from Loyala University Chicago in 2009 and obtained a law degree from Western Michigan University in 2013. During college she worked for the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the in the charitable trust division of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office. She now works for the law firm Johnson, Blumberg & Associates.

She has met and talked with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who advised her to “just be me and embrace myself.”

Which Delano advised the girls in the audience to do as well. “Be yourself. Be your own role model. Push yourself.” Delano said she envisions “the best female I can be,” then works toward that. Everything she has learned and experienced “makes me who I am. They make me this girl.”

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