GAC is proud and inspired by so many women who make a big impact in this world. Here are just a few Spartan female role models who are living out their purpose and serving others.
Kendall Robinson '18
A role model, artist, HBCU leader, non-profit founder, and a Beats by Dre "Black Futures" ambassador, Kendall Robinson is just getting started. As a GAC student, Kendall was known for her kind, giving spirit and extraordinary talent in art. When she was 16 years old, Kendall and her sister Kaylin started a charitable organization called Love Rolls, Inc, which assists the homeless by providing them with rolls of toilet paper. To this day, they have distributed over to 150,000 Love Rolls to homeless individuals, to people in need, and to those impacted by natural disasters.
Kendall is currently a student at Howard University pursuing her love of visual arts, often showcasing vibrant paintings of Black men and women. She constantly challenges herself with new media and forms of self-expression. She was recently selected as one of 14 creative college students chosen for the Beats by Dre 2020 Black Futures Program represented by students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Her project for the program consists of a series of paintings titled “Black Is Beautiful,” showcasing the inherent beauty of students at Howard University. She shares, “My hope is that this platform will allow me to encourage artistic individuals across the globe to pursue their passions despite what the world tells them. I also aspire to grow as an artist and push myself out of my comfort zone.”
Samantha Abrahart ’09
Sam Abrahart ’09 is the CEO and Founder of positive messaging fashion brand, the Mayfair Group, and is named a Forbes “Next 1000” Honoree. While at GAC, Sam was involved in many areas of student life, including soccer. She was the team’s leading goal scorer and in 2009 was names the girls’ soccer team Offensive Player of the Year. After GAC, she studied at the University of South Carolina, where she was an avid soccer player and attended on a soccer scholarship — a testament to her British roots. While in college, she experienced mental health challenges, a struggle she is more open and vulnerable about today as it also inspires her work. She returned to college in 2010 (this time the University of North Georgia) and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, which led to a fashion internship in Los Angeles.
After a few years of working in L.A. in the fashion industry, Abrahart felt the pull to launch her own venture. So she quit her job, moved back to Arizona, and launched the Mayfair Group in 2017 in her guest bedroom, with about $2,000 of savings in her bank account. Mayfair was one of the first all-inclusive companies that offered the following services in house: PR, Social Media, Graphic Design, Sales, and Creative Content. It evolved from a multifaceted service agency to an e-commerce platform, and ultimately a sought-after fashion brand.
Today, Mayfair creates a new collection of merchandise on a weekly cadence with inspiring messages like “It costs zero dollars to be a nice person”, “Say less, mean more,” and “Empathy”. The styles and sayings are striking a chord with fashion circles and celebrities. It has also led to coverage in fashion publications like Vogue and Who What Wear. Sam recalls, “I felt this weird void where I thought to myself, I know I'm supposed to be doing something different. I know I'm supposed to build something of my own. Mayfair was really launched out of the desire to build a company where people feel inspired to come to work, and to cultivate an open and collaborative environment where all voices are heard, and everyone from intern to CEO can sit at the table, bring creative concepts, and bring narratives that we feel passionate about.” Recently, Sam was named as a Forbes “Next 1000” Honoree, as one of the Top 1000 entrepreneurs disrupting their industry.
Kaylin Paige Hankerson ’13
Lieutenant Kaylin Paige Hankerson ’13 has been a natural leader from a young age. At GAC, she was involved in choir and the girls’ golf team, which was the state runner-up during her senior year. Her love of golf started with watching her dad play when she was younger. After GAC, she attended Louisiana State University and graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies. She is a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force and a Public Affairs Officer. She is currently in active duty in Louisiana. She is often traveling, building relationships, and staying healthy by working out.
On her experiences, she shares, “My biggest take away from active duty has been the people that I've met, served with, and who have become like family. It's made moving around difficult but I would trade the experiences I've had with so many teammates from various walks of life for anything.”
Jessie (Ellis) Howell ‘03
If you know the Ellis family, then you know about their dedication to serving others and living out their faith. Jessie (Ellis) Howell graduated from GAC in 2003, and has been engaged in service projects, mission trips, and relational ministry all her life. She and her husband, Taran, are passionate about adoption and foster care, and have fostered over 100 children over the years! Their faith in Christ and calling to serving underserved children fuel their desires to serve as a family to those without one in addition to helping families unite when possible.
In 2019, Jessie and Taran were thrilled to announce their adoption of a little girl named Myra Elaine on June 28. Myra has been a part of the Howell family since she leaving the hospital when she was born. She joined siblings Ellis, Everett, Zeke, and Zula. Seeking out children in need of critical care and raising kids are Jessie’s vocation and full-time roles. Her sister, Joy, is also actively invested in adoption and foster care.
Sonia Tucker ’93
If there was one word to describe Sonia Tucker it would probably be “go-getter”. At GAC, she was known as a natural connector and high achiever. As a high school student, she was involved in many activities and leadership roles, including the Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society, and the Video Yearbook team.
Highlighted in a 1992 Gwinnett Extra newspaper article, Sonia was known as the one who initiated a monumental and fun potluck event to celebrate other cultures represented by the GAC student body. As an 11th grader, she was a visionary for how others could build relationships and gain a deeper understanding of cultural differences. She approached Dr. David Fincher with the idea, and the school hosted a global dinner in which families in grades 6-12th would dress in traditional attire and bring dishes passed down from their ancestors.
After GAC graduation in 1993, she attended Oglethorpe University and Georgia State University. Since then, she has served in many Board membership roles for various causes and organizations, including the Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce, The Atlanta Press Club, and the Women’s Chamber of Commerce. As a dedicated mother and business leader, she is always bringing value to others. Now in her second decade at CNN, she continues to serve as a champion for multicultural leaders and a global connector. At CNN, Sonia’s roles include the Brand & Partnership Experience and Talent Development. She is a champion for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Champion and, if you know her, you know her strengths as a Global Connector & Relationship Builder
Sonia is CNN’s Chief of Protocol Affairs and Sr. Manager Affiliate Relations for the CNN Fellowship. Since 1996, Tucker has designed, developed and set the strategic vision and plan for the CNN Fellowship, a professional enrichment program for journalists who are CNN/WarnerMedia partners worldwide. She is a result-driven global leader and cross-cultural communicator with exceptional client relations. CNN Fellowship has provided immersive training and brand partnership experience for over 1226 international journalists from 136 countries and 401 news organizations worldwide.
Cindy Brogdon ’75
In addition to helping GAC get to three state girls basketball titles in the early 1970s and setting 12 school records, Cynthia Jane "Cindy" Brogdon was also the first Georgian to play as a member of a United States Olympic Basketball team, was inducted into theGeorgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Women’s College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. At the 1976 Olympics in Canada, Brogdon helped the team to an 83–67 win against Czechoslovakia. She earned the silver medal in the Olympics that year.
Brogdon was one of the top girl’s basketball players in Georgia history during her four years (1972-75) at GAC as a a 4-time state MVP. Later, Brogdon was a talented All-American player at Mercer University and the University of Tennessee, where she led the Lady Vols in scoring both seasons.
Brogdon was one of four athletes, five coaches, one contest official, one state association administrator and one in the performing arts, who was inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame on July 2, 2015. At this time, there were only 435 individuals in the entire Hall of Fame. Brogdon was the 9th Georgian to be elected. Since then, she has served as a teacher and coach in Georgia.