We had the pleasure of speaking with Darrese, one of our 12th grade Champions who has attended Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA) for the past 5 years. She achieved quite the hootworthy honor and award, as being selected as one of two delegates in the state of Georgia to participate in the United States Senate Youth Program. She was hesitant to apply after not being selected for the Governor's Honors Program the year before, but following a timely phone call from her Dual Enrollment Counselor, Ms. Debrody, who encouraged her to apply, Darrese decided to go for it! She could not believe she was picked, but she credits her involvement in many clubs at GCA including being Student Council President and her passion for social activism during the interview process, as landing her a spot in the program.
The Senate Youth Program Washington Week event typically takes place in Washington, D.C., but last year and this year, the event was virtual over Zoom. Even though it was not in-person, Darrese enjoyed the online sessions where she heard from many different past and present government officials including their experiences and what they would do differently. She mentioned that every group was assigned a military mentor who she connected with and appreciated the entire time. After the talks, the participating delegates would reflect on the sessions together and share their different perspectives.
The most important thing that she took away from the experience was the power of unity. She noticed that even though the delegates came from different backgrounds, they were all together; they focused more on how they could help each other and what brought them together. She realized that their differences disappeared. She shared that the most rewarding thing from the experience—other than the 10,000 dollar scholarship and being selected as one of two people in Georgia—was getting to know the delegates. She knows that these people could be the future politicians of America, and who knows how these connections could impact her future.
As a busy person, what she enjoys most about being a student at GCA is the convenience. She loves how she can take her laptop anywhere and attend class anywhere. If she could give advice to new students, she would tell them to find their balance between school and life outside school. She would also tell them to join clubs at GCA; this is where students can meet people, form relationships, serve their community, and gain extracurricular experience. Darrese mentioned she would like to pursue a Musical Theater Major, but she has yet to decide on which college to attend because she has four acceptances! We are super proud of Darrese and her hootworthy achievement participating in the US Senate Youth Program. You can find more information about the program here. Keep soaring, Darrese!