Monday, October 4, 2010

Gwinnett Student Leadership Team, Inc.: Creating a Legacy of Success

It seems as if every graduate of the Gwinnett Student Leadership Team, Inc. (GSLT) has a success story to tell. This should come as no surprise to anyone who is familiar with the caliber of students selected to take part in the two-year student leadership program for high school juniors and seniors in Gwinnett County Public Schools and Buford City Schools.

Story after story tells of students like Catalina Colvin Kreider, a 2006 graduate of Dacula High School and a 2010 graduate of the University of Georgia, who is now a first-year teacher at Jones Middle School. Kreider's leadership skills are so developed that her principal tapped her to teach the student leadership academy at Jones. There are other stories like that of Collin Jones who graduated from North Gwinnett High School and is currently attending Harvard University. Jones, a religion major and psychology minor, juggles maintaining a 3.79 GPA, conducting tours for the Harvard Tour Company, and interning at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic.

Additionally, both Kreider and Jones are the only two former GSLT students who have been invited by GSLT Executive Director Nancy Ward to teach alongside renowned leadership gurus from across the nation at the GSLT Summit attended by over 800 students and adults.

The success stories continue with Norcross High School and University of Pennsylvania graduate Lindsay Eierman. With a passion for women's rights, Eierman currently works as an innovation associate for the social enterprise, Source for Change, in India. The rural business process outsourcing organization trains women in technology and employs them for outsourcing services such as data entry and image editing. As the innovation associate, Eierman will work to investigate how and where to replicate their business model.

As a Robertson Scholar at UNC Chapel Hill, Grayson High School graduate Jeremy Knight spent his first summer internship teaching and exploring leadership principles with middle school students. Knight's work does not end with his summer internship, as he is as a counselor for Carolina Kickoff, a summer camp for 150 incoming freshman and a committee chair for the First-Year Focus Council, a committee on the Executive Branch of Student Government.

And then there is Ariel Ford, a 2009 graduate of Peachtree Ridge High School and a sophomore at the University of Florida where she is on a full four-year Gates Millennium Scholarship that will also cover graduate school. During her freshman year, Ford was one of 50 students chosen out of 500 applicants to serve on the Freshman Leadership Council at the University of Florida.

Football fans may be interested in knowing about Drew Butler who is a punter in his junior year for the Georgia Bulldogs. Butler, the son of Kevin and Kathy Butler, led the nation in punting average for the 2009 NCAA Division I FBS football season. He is also the winner of the 2009 College Football Performance Awards Punter Trophy and the 2009 Ray Guy Award. As well as excelling on the football field, Butler also excels in the classroom making the 2009 Dean's List, the 2008 SEC Academic Roll, and the 2008 Athletic Director's Roll.

Whether breaking records on the football field, teaching future leaders, attending acclaimed universities, fighting for women's rights, volunteering at orphanages in third-world countries, each person's story has a common denominator – they attribute their success to GSLT.

Jeremy Knight credits his ability to receive a scholarship to his involvement with GSLT. "I know that without GSLT, I would not have been awarded the scholarship, which has been life-changing for me."

Like Knight, Ariel Ford gives credit to GSLT for helping her to win a spot on the Freshman Leadership Council at the University of Florida. "Without GLST, I would have never been able to make this council. The competition was stiff, but GSLT truly allowed me to be a stand-out leader."

These stories serve as a reminder that as an investor in GSLT and thus Gwinnett's future leaders, the Gwinnett Chamber is helping to create a legacy of success and leadership for Gwinnett County and beyond. For more information on how you can support and get involved with the Gwinnett Student Leadership Team, contact Gail Macrenaris, director of leadership and education, Gwinnett Chamber at 770-232-8803 or

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