GSW names 20 incoming Ga., Fla., freshmen to new President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program  

Published 1:05 pm Saturday, June 8, 2019

AMERICUS— Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) has named 20 incoming freshmen from across Georgia and Florida to the new President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program, established to honor the legacy of GSW alumnus and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

“Because this new leadership program is endorsed by President Carter himself, it was very important to GSW to select only the finest students from those who applied,” said Lynda Lee Purvis, GSW vice president emerita for Academic Affairs and program director. “After a thorough review of the 39 applicants by the Applicant Review Committee, 20 were selected. These students not only achieved outstanding high school grade point averages and admission test scores, they demonstrated exceptional leadership in their high schools and contributed significantly to their communities.”

The 2019-2020 recipients of the Carter Leadership Program are:

  • Isabel Alcantar, Peach County High School, Fort Valley
  • Grant Auer, Pacelli High School, Midland
  • Emma Carter, Eagles Landing Christian Academy, McDonough
  • Bailey Christian, Jackson High School, Jackson
  • Nicolas Cohen, Baconton Community Charter School, Baconton
  • Meg Croft, Colquitt County High School, Moultrie
  • Rachel Faulkner, Perry High School, Perry
  • Nadia Ford, Peach County High School, Fort Valley
  • Brandilyn Garner, Gatewood Schools Inc., Eatonton
  • Jacob James, Ridgeland High School, Parrott
  • Grayson James, Webster County High School, Flintstone
  • Jessica Lane, Worth County High School, Oakfield
  • Denaja Lewis, Coretta Scott King Academy, Atlanta
  • Elli Lucas, West Orange High School, Winter Garden, Fla.
  • Selena Ortiz, Grovetown High School, Grovetown
  • Christian Palmer, Stratford Academy, Perry
  • Arthur Thompson, Wakulla High School, Crawfordville, Fla.
  • Richard Wart, Westover High School, Albany
  • Jordan Whitening, Redan High School, Stone Mountain
  • Adam Wilson, West Orange High School, Winter Garden, Fla.

The program consists of two pathways, an Undergraduate Research Track and a Service Track, that exemplify Carter’s lifetime of leadership in education, politics and community service. Guided by the evidence-based “The Social Change Model of Leadership Development,” the four-year program allows students to develop their leadership skills both individually and within a group.

Students who score a minimum 1100 on the SAT or an ACT composite score of 22, hold a high school curriculum grade point average of 3.0 or greater and have been admitted to GSW are eligible to apply for the program. Additionally, students who hold a leadership role in high school, whether on a sports team, a student club, or community organization, also qualify.

“I have always had a close attachment to Georgia Southwestern, and I am honored to be associated with their new leadership program,” said Carter. “They invested in me as a student over 75 years ago, and I want to do the same for the future leaders in our region.”

“As the only program in the University System of Georgia endorsed by a former president,” stated GSW President Neal Weaver, “we believe it is going to strengthen our student’s leadership skills and hone in on their ability to be great leaders here locally, nationally, and even globally … just as President Carter has.”

During their first year, students will focus on individual growth and development, working to understand their own beliefs and values. The second year will explore the role of the group, how to build trust with others and how to work collaboratively towards common goals.

In year three, students will choose between the academically-focused Research Track and the service learning-focused Service Track. In the fourth and final year, students will develop a senior research or service project dependent upon their track.

The Carter Leadership Program will provide students with academic scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $3,500 each year they are in the program. The program is made possible thanks to generous support from the Charles L. Mix Memorial Fund.