Marley Hamby was announced as the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Award Winner at the Feb. 8 meeting of the Dawson Board of Education by the Dawson County Woman's Club. The alternates, who will also be representing Dawson County at the Georgia HOBY conference in June, are Jessica Applegate and Evy Ulery.
Winners are chosen annually based on their leadership, service and innovation.
All three are sophomores with significant goals and specific plans to achieve them--inside and outside of the classroom.
The HOBY organization upholds their core values of volunteerism, integrity, excellence, diversity, and community partnerships by choosing high school sophomores they believe will lead in these ways.
"It's a terrific opportunity for these girls to hone their leadership skills," said Mary Bob Fox of the Dawson County Woman's Club.
"Without exception, every student has come back saying it was the best experience of their lives," Fox said of the conference.
Hamby has played soccer, basketball and is heavily involved in both track and cross country.
"Most of my past achievements have been athletic ones," Hamby said. "What I really want to do is become an orthopedic surgeon and I want to go to Duke University on the Robertson Scholarship which is a leadership program that combines both academic study with missionary work," she said. "I will eventually become really involved in missionary trips. I'm looking into some global mission trips this summer."
She's also an active member at Bethel Baptist Church.
"When I got this award I was really ecstatic because I knew that I was on the right track and leadership is one of the things my scholarship focuses so heavily on," Hamby said. "If I can improve those qualities early then I feel like I will have a better chance getting that scholarship."
Award alternate Jessica Applegate has also demonstrated leadership in her athletic endeavors.
"I've always played sports and most of my achievements are from swimming," Applegate said.
She started the high school swim team at Dawson County this year and the result included two swimmers qualifying for state, one being Applegate.
"I've always found myself trying to help others become the best version of themselves so this award meant a lot to me because it just goes to show that all my hard work isn't for nothing," Applegate said.
She plans to attend the University of Miami Law School to become a lawyer like her grandfather.
While Applegate and Hamby have athletic backgrounds, Evy Ulery has made politics and academics her priority, currently holding a 4.3 GPA .
"Most of my awards are academic. I've never made anything lower than a 90 in a class," Ulery said.
The youngest member of the Dawson County Democratic Party, Ulery says she was a little surprised to be named an alternate.
"I am an activist for the LGBT group-- I am part of the Human Rights Campaign and I included a lot of that because that is most of what I do," she said.
"I am very excited to go to this conference," she said of attending the event in June. "I am going to apply this. I am going to be an American Government teacher so I think any leadership program is going to help me in teaching students."
Ulery wants to be sure that students understand that elected officials and the government have a major impact on their daily lives.
She wants to eventually return to her native Michigan to teach.
HOBY is America's foremost youth leadership organization with more than 425,000 alumni across the country. They strive to encourage students and volunteers to give back to their community, uphold the highest standards of ethics, and promote entrepreneurship while developing a strong support network within the community.
The students will all attend the HOBY leadership seminar this summer at Berry College in Rome.