Reflections - Will Burgess (Georgia HOBY '07)

I attended HOBY in the summer of 2007. I was an outgoing kid at school, but I had never found a place of people just like me. HOBY changed that. It gave me one of the best weekends of my life and a network of friends with whom I still keep in touch with 8 years later. I served on Junior Staff for four years after my ambassador year, and though it was hard work, my seminars on staff gave me more memories and taught me more about myself than even my ambassador year.

But perhaps more importantly, HOBY gave me direction and purpose. I knew I was outgoing (probably obnoxious) and a leader (probably bossy), but I had no idea what that meant for me and my goals in life. HOBY showed all of us that leadership is simply the ability to influence change with everyone's own God-given skills. It gave me the confidence and ability to turn this talkative high schooler with no purpose into someone who talked for good. It helped me to get involved in student government in college and go to law school. And I know what I learned at HOBY will follow me and guide me for the rest of my life.

~Will Burgess (Georgia HOBY '07, current student at Harvard Law School)

Reflections - Morgan Fermin (Georgia HOBY '10)

High School: Liberty County High School, Hinesville, GA

Alumni year: 2010

Favorite GA HOBY memory: Being greeted by two people at my seminar who would eventually be some of my closest friends

College: Currently enrolled at The University of Georgia, anticipated graduation is May 2016 with a degree in Early Childhood Education

"HOBY has done so much for me since I first set foot on campus at Georgia Southwestern University in 2010. I never thought that 15 people dragging me out of my car would essentially lead me to one of the most life changing weekends of my life. HOBY taught me to be open minded and to realize that everyone has a story. There is no one person that has a easy life, and even though some people always have a smile on their face, they may not have the sparkling life we think they have. HOBY also taught me how to put service above myself. There are so many people that are not as fortunate as me in so many ways, so I constantly appreciate how HOBY taught me about service. I think the most important thing that HOBY taught me is how to empower others. So many people look at the world in a "glass half empty" sort of way, while HOBY teaches us to always be positive and look forward  to the good things ahead. I cannot wait to see where the lessons HOBY has taught me take me in life. This program will always have a special place in my life, and the people and experiences I have encountered through my time with HOBY I will keep near and dear to my heart forever."

~Morgan Fermin (Georgia HOBY '10, current student at University of Georgia)

Reflections - Anne Buckle (Georgia HOBY '04)

Name: Anne Buckle

High school:  McIntosh High School

Ambassador year:  2004

Colleges you attended:  Harvard University - Master of Education (Arts in Education)

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville - Bachelor of Music (Vocal Music Education) and Bachelor of Arts (International Relations and French)

Current employer and/or what you're up to now

By day:  Director of Policy and Research for Governor Bill Haslam's Drive to 55 education initiative in Tennessee, which includes the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs

By night:  Singer-songwriter with Unbroken Circle Publishing

What GA HOBY meant to you as an Ambassador, during the rest of your high school and college career, and what skills/lessons have translated to your professional life:

GA HOBY changed me in 2004.  A shy sophomore with big dreams, HOBY empowered me to speak up and be confident in my ability to influence the world around me.  Over the course of the weekend, my eyes were opened to a world bigger than the suburb I grew up in.  I learned about different kinds of people and how to relate to them.  I learned how important it is to consider others' differences.  I discovered how amazing it is when we use our individual strengths to come together and do something greater than ourselves.  HOBY showed me how to break down barriers and see people for who they are.  I left the weekend on fire, ready to spread positivity and light and love to others back in my high school and community.  Perhaps most important, I learned that leadership starts with the smallest of gestures - smiling, sitting with someone who is alone at lunch, or saying a kind word.  Throughout high school, college, and graduate school and into my current professional life, the skills and lessons I learned at HOBY have stayed with me, shaping me over and over again into the person I have become.  I always try to be a light to others, do what's right, and take time and effort to understand people.  Each year I return to HOBY on staff, I am inspired all over again, sharpening my leadership skills while learning new truths and insights.  As one of the ambassadors said in 2014, "I wish they taught this stuff in school."  Me too.  HOBY transforms people.  Ambassadors don't go home the way they were before.  They go home better.




Reflections - Fajr Malika DeLane (Georgia HOBY '14)

High School: Clarke Central High School in Athens, GA

Alumni year: 2014

Favorite GA HOBY memory: Presenting my “Who Am I” on the night of our talent show!

"I am a HOBY Ambassador of 2014, I have always known that eventually my hard work will pay off and continue to pay off. But I never knew that our world had a place where “HOBY” existed. I never knew that I could be surrounded with so much like minded, incredible, powerful and positive people who were just like me. I was so amazed when we as a human race got together no matter what race, religion or creed for the purpose of making our world a better place and becoming an incredible leader by first starting with our self, then our community and eventually the world. HOBY is my home, where I know I will meet and see people who are striving for greatness and want to inspire others. HOBY is a network, a family network of people who want to support greatness, HOBY is a beautiful family that I am so blessed to be a part of and help contribute to the inspiration of High School Sophomores. This year I had the honor of returning to HOBY as a Junior Staffer and being part of the 2015 Social Media Team for GA NorthWest, what I learned at HOBY this year was that our staff was determined to give "MAGIC" to the ambassadors, while we(staff) received the "MAGIC" that was enlightened in them.
I am so thrilled to have launched my ''F3''~Fun.Fit.Fabulous! clinic for young girls from the ages of 7-14. "F3" is all about developing each individual to be their ultimate best. An amazing way I found to accomplish that is by having fun, being fit and of course being your fabulous self. The one day clinic consisted of yoga, setting vision boards, and having a guest speaker from the University of Georgia come teach the youth about the importance of nutrition. Also, we had dancing, our glam squad (volunteers who did the girls nails, hair, clothes etc.) and ended the day off with a fabulous FASHION SHOW! I wouldn't have been able to accomplish this without the help of Allah, my family, mentors, HOBY and volunteers. Thank you so much for all the support and love! Can't wait to see what the future holds Insha'Allah (God Willing)! Let's continue to make GREAT CHANGE in our world! Always remember my people, stay Fun Fit & Fabulous! If you ever are contemplating about serving and or living out your dreams, just ask yourself, “If not me, then who…” So everyone in your own way, Empower. Lead. Excel!"

~Fajr Malika DeLane (Georgia HOBY '14)