As Hannah Gilliam prepares to graduate from Lindsay Lane Christian Academy and open a new chapter in her life at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, she also hopes to live by her mom Paula's advice to remember “who you are” and “whose you are.”
Gilliam is one of 14 graduating seniors at LLCA this year and plans to develop her business skills by studying human resource management at UAB this fall.
“I've always liked the business world and entrepreneurship,” Gilliam said. “I feel like knowing how to run and start a business successfully comes from knowing how to manage people.”
Gilliam will graduate from UAB in only three years, because she has already earned numerous credits through dual enrollment and summer school at Calhoun Community College. In fact, she'll knock out precalculus this summer before she heads off to UAB.
Once there, most of her tuition costs will be covered, thanks to the Martha Jo Leonard Community Scholarship and a Presidential Recognition Scholarship she earned after scoring a 30 on the ACT.
After completing her bachelor's degree, Gilliam plans to return to Athens, where she has lived in the same house all of her life. She believes nearby Huntsville will offer a great place to start her career because the economically robust city offers plenty of corporate human resource options.
“I love Athens and the small-town feel here,” she said of her decision to return to her roots. “I want to be close to my family and friends.”
While she's excited about spending the next three years in Birmingham, she said she's nervous about meeting her new roommate and the many changes she'll face.
“That's when I go back to my mom's advice,” she said. “It's a good reminder to stay true to yourself and what you believe among all the changes that come with this time of life.”
“As long as you remember where you come from and your values, you have a good chance of making it through in a successful way,” she added.
In addition to attending class at Calhoun this summer, Gilliam plans to work as a receptionist at DanTera Salon & Spa in Athens, where she hopes to get customer service experience and save some money for her first year away from home.
The LLCA Class of 2018 will graduate 7 p.m. Friday, May 18, at Lindsay Lane Baptist Church, 1300 S. Lindsay Lane.