Greenbrier High School band director Tom Smallwood can't say enough good things about Lesley Graybeal.
"Lesley was an all-around great student, not just in academics or extracurricular activities, but all around," he said about the 2003 graduate. "She always had time for other students and made it her goal to reach out and help others. As a person, Lesley is the best."
So it's no surprise to Smallwood that Graybeal was named one of 21 Foundation Fellows at the University of Georgia. The honor provides an annual stipend of $8,000 to cover tuition and other costs and will give Graybeal an opportunity to travel abroad.
"My guidance counselor (at Greenbrier High) told me about (the scholarship)," said Graybeal, who was salutatorian of her senior class. "The Foundation Fellowship is sort of the big scholarship UGA offers. Seventy-five people are selected to be interviewed, and you have to write an essay, participate in a group discussion on international relations and attend a couple of social events."
Graybeal said that if she decides to participate in a summer travel study, the scholarship would afford her additional funds to cover the trip. She will participate in a group study during spring break with other freshmen awarded the Foundation Fellowship. The group will travel to Washington D.C. and New York before venturing out of the country next summer.
"It's a very wonderful opportunity," said Graybeal, the daughter of Michael and Sheila Graybeal of Evans. She will participate in an independent travel study to New Zealand next summer.
"It will be my first time out of the country," she said. "I like traveling to get an idea of how people live in other parts of the world."
Lesley Graybeal was named as one of 21 Foundation Fellows at the University of Georgia. She is from Evans.
Photo by Jeff Blake
Graybeal is studying English at UGA and hopes to earn combined bachelor and master degrees. She wants to teach English and write a novel by the end of next summer.
Graybeal also is studying music at UGA.
It's evident that music is one of her passions. She played trombone in the Greenbrier High marching and jazz bands and is in A Capella Fellas, a female a cappella group at UGA. She also plays in a jazz combo at college.
"I cannot think of one character flaw that Lesley has," Smallwood said. "She can be serious, goofy, focused and thoughtful, depending on the situation that she is in."
Graybeal's plate at UGA is full, but she takes everything seriously. She's in a tae kwon do club and attends the Wesley Foundation Bible Study. She also is teaching English as a second language with Catholic Social Services.
Additionally, she is studying Italian this year and would like to use her Foundation Fellowship to travel to Italy in a few years.
"I studied Spanish while I was in high school," Graybeal said. "I'd like to visit a Spanish-speaking country to get a feel of their culture," said Graybeal, who was president of the Greenbrier High National Honor Society. "I'm studying Italian this year, so I kind of want to go to Italy and see the different European countries."
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