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Gold Awardee Bailey Burleson: Tutoring Program Boosts Test Scores – and Confidence – For Hispanic and Low-Income Students

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Decatur-area Gold Scout Bailey Burleson, a freshman at the University of Mississippi, earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn. Burleson earned her Gold Award for her project, “Austin High School Tutoring Partnership with Austinville Elementary School.” Her project focused on low test scores in her school district. Austinville Elementary School has had an influx of Hispanic students – they make of 57.5% of the school population – and 99% of the population is under the poverty line. She tackled this issue by pairing tutors with Hispanic students and students under the poverty line.

The measurable results were that the tutored students made higher test scores compared to the average of the rest of their class. But another result had more to do with the students’ self-confidence.

“We did help improve their test scores and help them understand difficult math, but we also gave them someone to talk to about themselves,” Burleson said. “I think that we did more for their hopes, dreams, and self-confidence than we did for their grades.”

Burleson hopes her project will continue and other schools will implement similar programs. She shared her project report and materials to other teachers at other schools. She also blogged about her experience for the national Girl Scouts GoGold blog.

In her Gold Award final report, which documents her 80+ hours spent on her project and how she’s grown as a leader, Burleson indicated that she felt empowered to make a difference in the world.

“I found my place in the community,” Burleson said. “I am no longer someone who simply benefits from my community but also someone that gives back.’

Burleson, a graduate of Austin High School, is studying international studies and Spanish at the University of Mississippi. Her future plans are to work at a United States Embassy and publish a book.

The girl who goes for the Gold embraces challenges, achieves excellence, and works diligently to make the world a better place, in her own unique way. Her leadership, vision, and boundless energy is an inspiration to all Girl Scouts. Each girl earning her Gold Award demonstrates excellence through a leadership project totaling more than 65 hours. Girls who earn their Gold Award are also recognized by the President of the United States, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Armed Services, state legislatures, colleges and universities for admission and scholarship opportunities, and the American Legion. Some universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

About Girl Scout Gold Award
Since 1916, Girl Scouts have been making meaningful, sustainable change in their communities and around the world. The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn, acknowledges the power behind each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering and bettering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others. These young women are courageous leaders and visionary change makers. They are our future, and it looks bright! To learn more about the Girl Scout Gold Award, visit

About Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama

We're over 13,000 strong—9,500 girls and 3,800 adults in 36 counties in the state of Alabama who believe girls can change the world. It began over 100 years ago with one woman, Girl Scouts' founder Juliette Gordon "Daisy" Low, who believed in the power of every girl. She organized the first Girl Scout troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, and every year since, we've made her vision a reality, helping girls discover their strengths, passions, and talents.

Today we continue the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama is a United Way partner. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit or call 800-734-4541.