Music and Love of School Band Help Cobb Girls Earn Girl Scouts' Highest Award


Two West Cobb Girl Scouts recently earned the organization's highest achievement after combining their love of music and commitment to school band with community service projects.
Aurora Hampton (l) and Ashling Clark (r) were joined by Harrison Band Director Josh Ray at the recent Girl Scout Gold Award ceremony.Photo byKristina Hampton

A week after Girl Scouting celebrated its 111th birthday in its hometown of Savannah, GA, Cobb County's Ashling Clark and Aurora Hampton received their Gold awards, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting (equal to Eagle Scout).

The two girls, both accomplished musicians and alumni of the Harrison High School Bands program in Kennesaw, developed sustainable programs to improve enrollment and retention in band programs at their former middle and high schools. Girl Scout Gold projects require addressing a community issue, then planning and implementing a sustainable solution. Since COVID, middle school and high school band programs had suffered from significant declines in participation. The lower enrollments affected both classroom participation and voluntary participation in extracurricular music programs like marching band and other performing ensembles.

Building Middle School Retention

Aurora Hampton’s project focused on middle school band retention. Looking at the low enrollment numbers from the feeder middle schools, Aurora and her advisor Mr. Josh Ray, Head Director of Harrison High School Bands, devised a plan that included weekly mentoring of band students from several Cobb County middle schools. Having come from a strong band program in California (Vista Murrieta in Murrieta, CA) as well as having siblings in middle school bands, Aurora had the experience and the desire to recruit and help retain the rising musicians not only for Harrison’s band program but also those going to Hillgrove, Kennesaw Mountain and Allatoona high schools. Aurora was a trumpet section leader in Harrison Bands since 2020 and was an asset to the Harrison Band program.

For her project at the middle school level, Aurora helped mentor not only trumpet but other instrumental students. She, along with other Harrison band leadership students, gave them a tangible connection to high school band and something fun to look forward to.

Aurora is currently completing her freshman year at Berry College where she is studying Biology and Music. She is in Berry College’s Wind Ensemble where she was the featured trumpet soloist at the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) State Conference this past January.
The Gold Award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouting.Photo byKristina Hampton

Fostering High School Relationships

Ashling Clark’s project centered on a high school band mentoring program in a post-COVID world. Ashling focused on the quality of relationships of those already in band at the high school level. The effects of COVID made many students, including those in band, feel distant, setting them back in their musicianship skills.

After her freshman year, Ashling identified the need for a better mentoring relationship between upperclassmen and freshmen. She created a program for Harrison Band students where the veteran members could mentor the younger students and improve their skills. Her goal was to foster lasting friendships by focusing on lifting each other up in their academic and musical studies. Younger musicians found a safe-haven in the band’s leadership strengthening the current band program. Her advisor was Mrs. Laura Newby, band director and woodwind specialist in Harrison Bands.

A leadership asset to Harrison Bands, Ashling started her own band leadership career on the uniform committee, then moved to section leader in 2020. She plays Bassoon and Bass Clarinet. Ashling is completing her freshman year in college studying Music Education at Georgia State University. She marched clarinet this past fall for the Panthers and was also featured as a member of Georgia State’s Symphonic Band at the GMEA State Conference this past January.

At the well-attended celebratory ceremony on in March, 104 young women were awarded Girl Scouts’ highest honor for the Greater Atlanta Area Council held at the Delta 360 Club at the Atlanta Braves stadium. Mr. Ray was present to support both Aurora and Ashling at the awards ceremony. Besides their Gold awards, both girls received congratulations from the US Dept of Health & Human Services, the Greater ATL Day Sorority Kappa Delta, Georgia’s Governor, Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor, Former US Presidents, the FBI, NASA, and the US Senate.

Kristina Hampton contributed information for this post.

This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.

Comments / 0

Published by

Welcome to I'm DeanLand, a trained journalist and retired global marketing executive. Living in Northwest Georgia, I write about about avocations including outdoors, travel, exploration, history, food and community passions. I've traveled to 47 states and nearly as many countries. My French Cajun upbringing in Louisiana plus my extended restaurant-related career affirm my status as an over-qualified eater. At my blog,, I offer a complete menu of our my own experiences, explorations and adventures, organized by geography and always sprinkled with some spicy, tasty tidbits and food notes.

Acworth, GA

More from DeanLand

Comments / 0