Vox blog: the story behind the story

2019 Kelly-Shah Alumni Award: Shonte Walton


Each summer at our First Draft event, we celebrate the winner of the Kelly-Shah Alumni Award. We are excited to announce that Shonte Walton is the 2019 recipient! She is pictured above, third from the right, with the rest of the teens in the 1996 Olympics Teen Bureau. Read on to hear from Shonte about her time at VOX.

How did you get connected to VOX as a teen?

Clayton County had banned VOX from their school system for awhile, but in 1994 or 1995, I saw a copy of VOX in my journalism class at Mount Zion High School. I wanted to be the next Sonia Murray [long-time Atlanta music journalist and VOX volunteer!], so I called the number for VOX and showed up at one of the Saturday meetings.

What is your favorite memory from VOX as a teen?
I have a lot of favorite memories! I thought I was quite the producer,  and I wanted to have Monica Kaufman and Ludacris come speak with everyone at VOX. I called them and set everything up. I saw Ludacris around town a couple of times after that, and he remembered me from VOX. Another favorite memory is when I was a part of the Teen Bureau for the 1996 Olympics. I got to meet Mary Lou Retton.

What is your favorite memory from your time at VOX as an alum?

Bringing my daughter, Taylor, to visit VOX earlier this year. Even before I started volunteering again, she had heard me talk about my time at VOX and how important it was to me. Seeing her in the VOX office was really special.

Why is VOX important for teens, and for the community as a whole?
For me, VOX was a training ground. It taught me journalism skills and how to be more assertive and use my voice. VOX helped me open up when I was a teenager and become the person I am today. I was from the suburbs of Atlanta, and at VOX I met teens from all different backgrounds and walks of life.

For adults, VOX helps us be more vulnerable and open to listening to teens. Through that, we are all able to come up with creative solutions to problems facing the world.

What are 3 words you would use to describe VOX?

Transformative, bold, life-changing

We are grateful for the many ways that Shonte has supported VOX this year as an alum! Join us at First Draft on Wednesday, June 26th as we say “cheers” to Shonte and our other alumni. Tickets and all event information available here.

We have corporate sponsorship opportunities available! Email allison@voxatl.org for more information on how your company can support VOX and our First Draft event.