SOCIAL CIRCLE -- The first members of the Better Hometown Junior Ambassador Program were introduced to the Social Circle City Council on Tuesday, kicking off the inaugural program.
"They started this program about five minutes ago," said Mike Miller, executive director of Social Circle Better Hometown, as he introduced the four high school students. "We are on the threshold of greatness here. This represents a partnership between the Boys & Girls Club, Better Hometown and the Social Circle City Schools, and that's something I'm very proud of."
This year's Junior Ambassadors are Social Circle High School seniors Katie Burns, Kevin Childress, Nia Smith and Carla Soriano.
Social Circle Better Hometown launched the Junior Ambassador Program in the spring.
Rising juniors and seniors in Social Circle can apply to be Junior Ambassadors and participate in the program that "is an opportunity for young men and women to become a part of the business community by being exposed to programs of the Better Hometown that will give them insight and to teach them responsibilities of a corporate citizen," according to the policies and procedures.
As a part of the one-year program, the Junior Ambassadors must volunteer at least four hours a month to provide administrative support to the Better Hometown, help coordinate various events sponsored and/or hosted by Better Hometown, and attend meetings of the City Council, Walton County Board of Commissioners and city and county school boards.
One of the first activities will be to participate in the city's upcoming Friendship Festival on Oct. 2. They will also help with local businesses' grand openings and ribbon cuttings, the city's Fourth of July events, Easter Egg Hunt and Georgia Cities Week events.
Miller said the students were selected for the program after a rigorous application and interview process.
In order to qualify, they have to have a minimum cumulative scholastic average of 80 and secure letters of reference. Candidates underwent an interview process in May. Their term runs from July 1 until June 30.
Darrell Corder, Better Hometown board member and chairman of the Junior Ambassador Program, said this first class of Junior Ambassadors is setting the bar high for subsequent classes. For example, Burns -- whose mother, Martha Burns, was named Social Circle Middle School's Teacher of the Year -- said Tuesday that her goal is to be named valedictorian, something she's had her sights on since she was 5.
"This program will increase these students' consciousness about their city, their hometown, and they will make it that much better," Corder said.