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Three Girl Scouts from the Northeast Mississippi region of the Girl Scouts Heart of the South Council have received the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor for a graduating Girl Scout. Constance Lee Cleveland, Courtney Walden and Jessica Savage each received the Gold Award after completing community service projects throughout their senior year of high school.

Constance Lee Cleveland loves animals, and wanted to use her Gold Award project, Pet Connect, to help more animals get adopted from her local shelter. She did this by improving access to the shelter, working with the Mayor of Booneville, MS, to maintain a page on the city’s website that lists available animal adoptions. Cleveland graduated from Booneville High School this year and plans to attend Northeast Mississippi Community College on a full scholarship in the fall.

Courtney Walden took to a cause extremely close to any Girl Scout’s heart: getting more girls involved with the Girl Scouts Heart of the South. Inspired by everything she had learned from her time with the Girl Scouts, she organized an event, Girl Scout Kick-Off, to help educate and recruit more girls in her area. In addition to her Gold Award, Walden also received a $1,000 competitive scholarship. Walden graduated from Booneville High School and plans to attend Northeast Mississippi Community College in the fall.

Jessica Savage of Starkville came up with her project, Operation Play Ground, after her church completed a major renovation that took away the children’s playground. Noticing that kids were resorting to playing in the nearby parking lot, she worked with her youth minister and the church Elders to help organize the building of a new play area. Savage will be attending Mississippi State University in the fall, majoring in Pre-Med.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award that a Girl Scout between the ages of 14 and 19 can earn, and commemorates each girl’s commitment to her community. The Gold Award Scholarship provides financial assistance to help facilitate the continuation of academic growth for Girl Scout Gold Award recipients, and is awarded based on achievement in Girl Scouting, academics, leadership and extracurricular activities. Gold Awards are awarded annually in the spring to Girl Scouts who choose to work toward and accomplish this milestone, and set the foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship.

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