Uniondale High junior Danie Henry appears on ‘Kelly Clarkson Show’

Danie Henry’s next stop? The White House.


It’s not often that a high school junior knows exactly what she wants to be, but Uniondale High’s Danie Henry has had a career in mind ever since she was a little girl: to be a reporter, and to serve as a voice for those who don’t have the platform to effectively advocate for themselves and their causes.

Henry told the Herald that her dream is to work for a national network like CNN. She has loved telling stories, she said, since her youth, and credited her father with introducing her to journalism and teaching her the ins and outs of American politics. “He always had the news on the TV,” she said.

Henry got her first shot at preparing for her future when she appeared on NBC’s “Kelly Clarkson Show” last week. Henry, who is heavily involved in her local church, got the opportunity to appear on the show through another church member, who works for NBC and noticed her passion and ambition. She ultimately pitched the idea to bring her on the show, and the producers agreed she would be perfect.

“I had such a great time,” Danie said of her appearance on Feb. 22. “I was treated like a celebrity.”

But what really made her appearance special wasn’t her newfound celebrity status, but rather a huge surprise that host Kelly Clarkson had planned for Danie — bringing out and introducing her to one of her role models, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

“It was so shocking,” Henry said of meeting Jean-Pierre. “Everybody keeps asking me, did I know that she was going to come? No, I did not know at all. Of all people, I certainly did not expect her to come out.”

Jean-Pierre had much praise for Henry, who Clarkson told her all about, telling her that her goal to be a “voice for the voiceless” is “amazing.”

“Here is what I will say to you,” Jean-Pierre told her, saying that this was the same advice she gives to her daughters. “You have one job: to be a good person, to be kind, and to always remember who you are, and that you are enough.”

After meeting her idol, an emotional Henry learned that Jean-Pierre would be taking her on an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where Jean-Pierre will give her a personal tour of the White House, and she will get a taste of what it’s like to be a national politics reporter. Henry will have the opportunity to sit in on one of Jean-Pierre’s daily press briefings in the White House briefing room — and to ask her a question, so, Jean-Pierre said, she can “feel what it’s like to be a journalist in the room.”

“You are going to change tomorrow,” Jean-Pierre told Henry on the show. “I am so honored to be in your presence, because watching you and seeing everything you’re doing at 16 — I don’t think I had the gumption or fearlessness to do what you’re doing at your age.”

Henry is an outstanding student with incredible grades, involved in numerous clubs and sports teams, and even recently attended George Mason University’s annual Washington Journalism and Media Conference, which was a week-long experiential learning program for “highly engaged high school students.” The conference is funded by George Mason University and is held each summer in Washington, D.C. in July.

Henry said she knows her opportunity with Jean-Pierre is a game-changer. It isn’t easy to make professional connections as a teenager, especially ones of this caliber, but she appears to be miles ahead of the competition, and is excited about capitalizing on that advantage.

“I’m not sure what I’m going to ask just yet,” she said, thinking ahead to her briefing room opportunity, “but I’ve been watching very closely, and I’m preparing myself.”

After her first experience on national TV, Henry said she can certainly see herself on television full-time, and the experience has strengthened her ambition of working for a network. First, however, she’ll have to get through her senior year of high school next year.