United Way Set to Take Reins of Golden Eagle Awards in Central Georgia

Staff Report From Middle Georgia CEO

Monday, February 24th, 2020

After 42 years, The Telegraph says they are no longer able to keep the longstanding tradition of the Golden Eagle Awards going. In a column published last week, the paper made this announcement along with a plea for a community partner to take over. Upon learning the announcement, United Way of Central Georgia leadership thought it was a ‘natural fit’ given United Way’s connection to education in Central Georgia.

“For 42 years, the Golden Eagle Awards have recognized some of our top high school seniors and United Way of Central Georgia is honored to continue this tradition,” said George McCanless, President and CEO of United Way of Central Georgia. “Through our programs like READ UNITED and First Steps, our focus at United Way is rooted in improving the social well-being of our community through education and partnerships with local schools/organizations. Our plans are to use the ‘Golden Eagles’ to help emphasize to younger generations all that they can accomplish if they stay focused on their education.”

Since 1977, the awards have celebrated outstanding high school seniors in 13 categories including: Art, Athletics, Citizenship, Drama, English Literature, Industrial/ Vocational, Journalism/Marketing & Communication, Math, Music, Science, Social Science, Technology and World Languages. Those seniors were nominated by their schools and then judged by local experts in their category of nomination. The winner in each category is receives recognition at an annual award show, a Golden Eagle trophy, and a $1,000 scholarship. Historically, another 13 honorable mentions are selected, who each receive a certificate and $300 prize.

The paper’s General Manager, Ross McDuffie said of the Golden Eagle’s transition to UWCG, “United Way of Central Georgia is the perfect fit to take the reins of the Golden Eagles.  After meeting with George and his team, I'm confident they will not only maintain the important legacy of this program but that they will take it to even greater heights. I continue to be inspired by the spirit of service and commitment to excellence in education throughout this community.  With United Way's help, the Golden Eagles will continue to celebrate that legacy of excellence.”

United Way of Central Georgia and The Telegraph have already collaborated on the details of making sure the Golden Eagle Awards do not skip a beat this year. Albeit a quick turnaround, United Way of Central Georgia will accept nominations of students immediately and will host the Golden Eagle Awards ceremony in May.