Bailey Christian

Bailey Christian

AMERICUS — Jackson High School class of 2019 graduate Bailey Christian is one of 20 incoming freshmen from across Georgia and Florida named to Georgia Southwestern State University’s 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 program consists of two pathways — an undergraduate research track and a service track — created to exemplify Carter’s lifetime of leadership in education, politics and community service, the university said. Guided by the evidence-based “The Social Change Model of Leadership Development,” the four-year Carter Leadership 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,” Carter said. “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,” said GSW President Neal Weaver, “we believe it is going to strengthen our students’ 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 toward 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 support from the Charles L. Mix Memorial Fund.