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High school students explore new horizons with Terry College Accelerated Business Program

Summer program brings more than 100 teens to campus to learn about leadership and life after high school
Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 3:02pm
Merritt Melancon
Randy Groomes with a few of 2022 Accelerated Business Program students

High school juniors and seniors from Georgia and beyond got a jump-start on their professional brands this June as part of Terry College’s Accelerated Business Program.

The annual summer program, hosted by the Terry College Office of Diversity Relations,  introduced students to Terry faculty from several departments as well as business leaders from companies such as PwC, the Coca-Cola Company and AT&T.

“This is a program for high-achieving students to refine their leadership skills,” said Randy Groomes, Terry College’s director for the Office of Diversity Relations. “We give them the skills and confidence to know they can influence others, develop effective strategies and come up with the resources to address issues in their communities.”

The program connected students to fields of study and career pathways they may not have discovered in high school. A group of about 100 students participated in-person at Terry’s Business Learning Community, while another 30 students participated in many of these sessions via Zoom.

“The program helped me develop some clarity about what I want to do,” said Accelerated Business Program participant Heaven DeGracia, a rising junior from Grayson, Ga. “There are jobs out there where I can do something meaningful and fulfilling to me.”

“The program opened my eyes to different ways of working in business,” agreed Madelyn Williams, a rising senior from Marietta. “I’m a musician and a more creative type of person, and this let me know there’s more to business than working in a gray office cubicle. You can be a creative person and be in business.”

In addition to hearing from professionals about career paths, the group explored the University of Georgia campus, get to know students from around the country and even take a break for salsa dancing and tours of downtown Athens.

Groomes built the program for students to experience places, people and activities and expand their horizons, he said.

Over and over again, speakers challenged them to be confident and not be afraid to challenge themselves or step out of the crowd to do the right thing.

“You have to push yourself past your comfort zone; that’s where the magic happens,” Groomes told the group before leaving for their hometowns.

The application process for the 2023 Accelerated Business Program begins in spring 2023. The program is open to rising high school juniors and seniors and graduating seniors accepted to UGA.

Department or Program featured:

Office of Diversity Relations