Melanie Forbes traveled several hours each day to attend the prestigious Governor’s School for Government and International Studies in Richmond. There she was a natural leader in Student Council, the school orchestra, the National Honor Society and the Debate Team. Under her direction, the Debate Team reached new success at the local, state, and regional levels. In 1998, Melanie was the regional Lincoln-Douglas Debate Champion. A National Achievement Finalist and recipient of the Harvard University Book Award, she volunteered for Jack and Jill of America, a mother and child service organization.
One faculty advisor noticed that “her ability to work with others in an open-minded, flexible and dependable fashion is the trademark of her success.” As the liaison between the Governor’s School and the Thomas Jefferson High School, which shared a cramped building where tension was high and differences were accentuated, Melanie exemplified the Governor’s School’s vision of “students who seek to serve their community, who are tolerant, endowed with strong character and who understand and celebrate diversity in the global community for the 21st century.”
Melanie graduated from Harvard University with a degree in social studies. She was a member of the Sports and News Departments at the Harvard Radio Station and also worked in the office of Sports Information and Media Relations for the Department of Athletics. Melanie was a coxswain for Radcliffe’s crew team. She sang in Kuumba, Harvard’s gospel choir, and served on the Executive Board of this organization.
In one of many efforts to give back to her community, Melanie worked as an assistant teacher in an enrichment program in the Richmond city schools during the summer of 1999. One summer she interned at the Ronald H. Brown Foundation, helping to organize a major golf tournament fundraiser in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.