Michaela Wilkins graduated from Gordon Lee Memorial High School this year and was one of four students from area schools and one of 183 students statewide to earn recognition as a Georgia Scholar for her outstanding performance in school and within her community. Here’s our interview with Michaela.
Tell us about your academic accomplishments.
I maintained a 4.0 throughout my entire academic career and got a 31 on the ACT.
What extracurricular activities did you participate in?
I was Vice President of the National Honor Society, Committee Chairman of the student council, a member of the Key Club and the Drama Club. I was a member of the Marching Trojan Band for four years and a member of the Gordon Lee High School Winter Guard for two years. I was also a member of the basketball cheerleading squad and a member of the track team, and I've taken Dan Zan Ryu Jujitsu for seven years.
Community service is a requirement to earn Georgia Scholar. How have you served your community?
I’m very active in the youth group at Elizabeth Lee United Methodist Church, and I’ve done 200 community service hours, including at the Ronald McDonald House, candlelit tours at the historic Gordon Lee mansion, volunteering at Elizabeth Lee United Methodist Church, and volunteering at the Aftercare at Chickamauga Elementary School.
What are your future plans?
I plan to attend the University of Georgia in the fall majoring in English with a minor in Physics. I have applied to work as a technical writer for a small satellite lab at UGA. I would like to work teaching English as a second language, and then go on to become an editor or publisher. I have always loved to read and getting to spend all day around books would be a dream come true.
What are some things you’re especially proud of accomplishing or doing?
I am proud of the fact that I got accepted into the University of Georgia. I’m proud of the fact that I managed to accumulate over 200 service hours and be this deeply involved in my school and community, all while maintaining all A’s for the past 13 years.
Who is someone who has had a strong influence on your life?
My mother has been the biggest influence in my life. She has always been unconditionally supportive of everything I have wanted to do. She taught me that I could do anything I set my mind to, and she helped me get through any obstacles I came across. She is definitely one of the reasons I have gotten where I am today.
What is some advice you would give to your future self?
If you don't love it don't do it. You only have one life so make the absolute most of it. Never waste time on something that isn't making you happy.
What is something you would do differently if you had high school to do over again?
I would try to get more involved. I looked back this year and realized that my horizons weren't very broad. I had done nothing but marching band, and while I loved the band, I believe that trying out for the track team and the basketball cheerleading squad was a really important step for me. It forced me to meet new people and try new things and push myself. Looking back, I wish that I had done that from the start – gotten to know everyone and tried out all sorts of sports and activities.
Do you have a bucket list? What are some things you’d like to do before you grow old?
I do not have a bucket list, but I definitely have a couple things that I would like to accomplish before I die. I would like to travel, and not to basic tourist traps, but I would like to find unknown places around the world and be able to experience them. I would like to graduate from the University of Georgia. I would like to be able to give back to the community that surrounds me. I would like to learn how to speak another language, and I would like to have a job that I look forward to doing most days.
To learn more about Georgia Scholars, see www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/Excellence-Recognition/Pages/The-Georgia-Scholar-Program.aspx.