1. Why was The Advanced Academy of Georgia important to you?
The Advanced Academy was important to me because it gave me an opportunity to grow and be challenged in ways that my high school just didn't offer. When I entered the Academy in 1996, there was no other comparable program available. I cannot put into words the excitement I felt to be a part of such a progressive and elite program. At sixteen, I was given the opportunity to live and learn with college students, to be taught by University professors, to debate against such schools as Harvard and Dartmouth , and most importantly, to find a peer group of other high school students who understood what it meant to be......well, "special." We were all yearning for the next challenge, the next concept to learn, and the newest technology to master and only the Advanced Academy provided us with what we were looking for. My fondest "high school" memories are from the West Georgia campus...discussing existentialism on the Mounds, or talking to Chancellor Porch at the Z, or just going to a college football game with my friends. To Academy students, being a part of the Advanced Academy is like stepping into Willy Wanka's chocolate factory. It's an all access pass to learn and ask questions, grow, and be exposed to new and exciting things. The Academy is important to me because it has allowed me to become who I am today, and for that I am grateful.
2. What would your last year in high school have been like if you stayed?
I would have made the best of it, because that's what I do.....but there is no way it would have compared to being in the Academy.
3. Where would you be now if you did not attend The Academy? How would your life be different?
Being a Junior in college at the age of eighteen not only gave me a two year jump start on life, but it also gave me something much more important: confidence. Since I hit the ground running at sixteen, I haven't looked back once. The Academy taught me to focus on what I CAN do and not how old I am or how I am supposed to do things. The Academy taught me to think outside the box and if I can't find the path to something I want, blaze a new one. I am now one of, if not the, youngest corporate level Managers at a Fortune 500 company. Had I not learned these valuable lessons at the Academy, I am sure I would not be were I am today. Most importantly, I am happy. Rather than spending my last two years in high school spinning my wheels and getting frustrated, I got the wonderful opportunity to dive into the next "stage" of life and that has set the pace for me. Again, I am appreciative.
4. Would you have stayed in Georgia or the USG for higher education without having been in the Academy?|
Before attending the Advanced Academy , my plans were to go to an out of state school, possibly Wake Forrest or Duke. Had I stayed in state, I was looking at Emory. I wanted to get a good education and be a part of a competitive debate program. After spending two years in the Academy, it was clear to me that SUWG offered both. I decided to transfer to UGA because I wanted more of the "college experience" that a larger school could offer and a more diverse choice of majors and because all of my work at SUWG would transfer as whole credits, which was not a guarantee had I gone out of state or to a private school.