3 Forsyth County seniors earn prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award

Kimberly Bond

(Forsyth County, GA) One local Girl Scout troop is celebrating three of its members as they earn the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. Laurel Ross, Samantha Schoenfeld, and Clara Hamilton, all from Girl Scout Troop 11805, have all been honored with the Girl Scout Gold Award.

To be eligible for this prestigious award, a Girl Scout must be in high school and be a registered Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador. She must also have completed two Senior or Ambassador Journeys or have earned the Girl Scout Silver Award and completed one Senior Ambassador Journey.

To win this award, a Girl Scout chooses an issue in their community that they care about and makes a plan to address that issue. She must present her project proposal to the Girl Scout Council and lead a team to carry out her plan once it is approved.

Three plans, three winners

Ross, Schoenfeld, and Hamilton joined Girl Scout Troop 11805 in elementary school. Now they are seniors at Forsyth Central High School with bright futures ahead of them. Though they were part of the same troop, each followed her own path, based on her goals and interests, when pursuing the Gold Award.

Hamilton completed her Gold Star project, the Forsyth County History Walk, last June. Located at the Sawnee Mountain Preserve Visitor Center, the History Walk displays information about various time periods on signs that visitors can read as they stroll by. The signs cover everything from Native American life to pioneer times to modern Forsyth County.

Hamilton celebrates with County leaders and other partners at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Forsyth County History Walk.Photo byKimberly Bond

History is important to Hamilton because, as she says, “We grow from what we did in the past.” She plans to continue studying art history in college. Her future ambitions include perhaps becoming an art historian or museum curator.

Ross’ Gold Star Project is the Forsyth Central High School Visual Arts Department Artist Spotlight Website. The Artist Spotlight was created to give young artists within Forsyth Central High School a place to show off their work and be represented within the community. Each month an artist’s work and social media links are featured on the page.

Ross specializes in ceramics.Photo byLisa Ross

In April, Ross herself was the featured artist. Several of her ceramics works were displayed on the Artist Spotlight website. Ross, an intern for the Forsyth Central Art Department, hopes to become either an art teacher or physical therapist someday.

Ross was inspired by her love of art to pursue her Gold Star project.Photo byLisa Ross

Schoenfeld’s Gold Star project is called Operation ICE. ICE is an acronym for “In Case of an Emergency.” Through a partnership with the Georgia Department of Public Health and Senior Services of North Fulton, Schoenfeld created a website and a first responder project awareness training video.

Samantha Schoenfeld's Operation ICE was designed to help educate about emergency preparedness.Photo byLisa Schoenfeld

“My goal was to educate on the importance of residential emergency preparedness,” Schoenfeld explained.

Schoenfeld also donated 500 Operation ICE emergency preparedness kits to senior citizens.

“These kits can speak for patients in residential emergencies when they, themselves, cannot,” said Schoenfeld.

Schoenfeld presents the Operation ICE website to a group of senior citizens.Photo byLisa Schoenfeld

The next chapter

As leaders of Troop 11805 for years, Kristine Walden and Lisa Schoenfeld have watched all three of these young women learn and grow through their Scouting experience.

“It has been inspiring to watch these young women grow as leaders over the past 11 years,” said Walden. I am thrilled they decided to put in the hard work to earn their Gold Awards. Their desire to improve our community is admirable, and they put their ideas into action -- that's what counts!”

“I could not be prouder of them,” Walden said. “They have been such a blessing in my life! I will miss them so much.”

After graduation, each Gold Star winner is bound for a different destination as they continue their education. Hamilton will be studying at The University of the South in Sewanee this fall. Schoenfeld will be attending The University of Georgia, while Ross will be heading to Georgia College & State University. Each of them will take the experience and skills they have earned through their Gold Star projects with them.

Do you know a graduate who has earned a special honor or achievement? Email us at kbondwriter@gmail.com or comment below to let us know!

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I'm a writer, editor, and journalist with a background in law and science. I love writing about interesting local places and events in Forsyth County, especially new businesses or family-friendly experiences.

Cumming, GA

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