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Do College Better - A Gold Girl Story

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Abby Jack of Elizabethton is one of 29 Gold Award 
recipients from the Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians. She shares what she learned through the Gold Award experience and what she’s up to now.

Since 1916, thousands of Girl Scouts across the country have earned the Girl Scouts’ highest honor, now called the Girl Scout Gold Award, for demonstrating extraordinary leadership and making sustainable change in their communities. Nationally, only 6 percent of all eligible Girl Scouts achieve the Gold Award.

Abby created the “Do College Better” program to help prepare high school students for the college application process. The project also aimed to explain important coursework, SAT and ACT scores, and scholarships. Videos that Abby produced are now in the library at Elizabethton High School for future students to watch and learn from.

“After going through the college admissions process myself, I felt completely unprepared to deal with financial aid, college essays, and choosing a college that best fit my needs,” Abby shared. “However, what made me feel more prepared was the fact that I was involved in different groups like QuestBridge and CollegePoint, so I made it a point to share these resources with others.”

QuestBridge is an organization that matches students with colleges and other opportunities. CollegePoint also provides personalized guidance for matching students with colleges. Abby created ways to provide students the resources and information that would be beneficial as they searched for and applied to schools.   

Abby learned a lot through developing her program, including persevering through obstacles and the importance of communication. “I developed a presentation and only had three attendees the first time,” she noted. “I doubled down and created flyers and advertised future presentations and got many more attendees.”

Public speaking, promoting, and talking about the program helped improve her personal communication skills. “Interacting with the students and local college admissions officers was my favorite part of the project,” she said. “I loved answering all the questions.” 

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Abby asked her followers what colleges they wanted to hear more about and applied their feedback as she reached out and asked colleges to be in her Q&A presentation.

With fond memories of her time in Girl Scouts, she shares one of her favorites about a trip that didn’t go quite as planned: “In middle school, our troop leader (my mom) took us backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. There were two diverging paths with a shelter at the end, one went straight up a mountain and the other was a wide gravel trail that day-hikers use. Of course, we went up the tiring mountain trail and found the shelter completely packed with Boy Scouts. With our room for the night taken over, we decided to change course and had a sleepover at another Girl Scout’s house instead.”

Abby loves reading young adult (YA) books and hanging out with her friends. She also writes when she can find the time. Others may not know that this self-described loud overachiever has an “extreme soft spot for bad television shows that take themselves very seriously.”

Next for Abby is enrollment at Barnard College in New York where she plans to major in urban studies.

Congratulations to Abby and all of our Gold Award recipients!

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A screenshot from a virtual presentation Abby held for high school juniors.