Before Georgie Ekechukwu traveled to the White House, she attached her collection of Girl Scout badges to a fresh uniform vest and polished her speaking skills for meeting the president.
Ekechukwu, 18, a recent graduate of Greenbrier High School, represented Girls Scouts of the USA during the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony Tuesday. President Obama awarded the medal to Juliette Gordon Low, who founded the organization in Savannah, Ga., in 1912.
“It was a great end to something I’ve been doing for more than 10 years. It shows you that when you stick to things ... good opportunities ... can come,” Ekechukwu said.
Low’s great-nephew, Dick Platt, of Savannah, received the award on behalf of his relative, said Jill Bader, a senior public policy adviser at the Girl Scouts’ Washington, D.C., office. Ekechukwu and four other Scouts from across the nation met the president and honorees after the ceremony in the White House East Room.
Before mentioning her intent to vote for the president in the next election, Ekechukwu discussed with Obama her plans to study nursing at Georgia Southern University.
“It was really cool how we got to have a little conversation with him,” she said.
Ekechukwu was selected for the trip by Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, the home council of Low.
“We asked our outstanding councils to select outstanding girls,” Bader said. “Since Georgie is from the home council of Juliette Gordon Low, it was the perfect fit.”
A member of Troop 20309, Ekechukwu earned her Girl Scout gold award, the highest honor a Girl Scout receives. She organized and helped teach a monthly self-defense class to victims of domestic violence at SafeHomes of Augusta.
Ekechukwu departed for Washington on Monday morning. Her first airplane flight was followed by her first ride in a taxi and on a subway train after arriving in the nation’s capital.
During her trip, Ekechukwu met with Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Ana Maria Chavez and President Connie Lindsey. At the White House, many honorees, their family members and White House staffers told the Girl Scouts of their own experiences in the organization, Ekechukwu said.