Bailey Hatchett and the rest of the Georgia State beach volleyball team began their fall slate in South Carolina this past weekend. Like every student-athlete at Georgia State, Hatchett balances academics, athletics, and a social life, but Hatchett’s situation is unique. As the first student-athlete to be awarded the Presidential Scholarship at Georgia State, she dedicates extra time to her studies and continuously serves the Atlanta community.
Majoring in Spanish and minoring in international business, education has always been a priority for Hatchett. Growing up in a single-parent household in Winston-Salem, N.C., her mother and grandmother always drove her to excel in the classroom. They emphasized the importance of education and instilled a love of learning.
“I would not be in this position without my mom. She has always been my biggest advocate and inspiration,” recalled Hatchett.
As she learned more about Georgia State, she discovered the Presidential Scholarship. After a rigorous interview and application process she was accepted. As one of only 39 Presidential Scholars at GSU, she has been able to develop relationships with her professors. In particular, Dr. Sarah Cook, the Associate Dean of the Honors College, has guided her during her studies and has become a role model for Hatchett.
Hatchett has always been involved in her local community. In high school she would volunteer at a local elementary school with her mother and her grandmother. The family brought children lunch, celebrated milestones, tutored, and did anything else to brighten the children’s day.
“From the moment I first spoke with Bailey, it was clear that she possessed a mission to improve her community,” said beach volleyball head coach Beth Van Fleet. “Most high school students complete community service hours to make their college applications look stronger. Bailey has spent years serving her community because she is driven and deeply passionate about helping younger kids.”
During her first-year Honors College class, Hatchett decided to develop a partnership between the Honors College, GSU Athletic Department, and local elementary schools. The program focuses on tutoring, mentoring, and celebrating children. Countless student-athletes and members of the Honors College have gotten involved. This year the program is expanding from elementary schools into middle and high school classrooms.
“Bailey embodies many characteristics we hope for our students – leadership, integrity, humility, perseverance, critical thinking and overall outstanding intellect,” said Dr. Cook. “When she represents GSU and the Honors College at various elementary schools, she takes all of these qualities to young students and gives them inspiration to be academically successful.”
On the sand Hatchett partnered with teammate Bekah Brodbeck in two duals for the Panthers last season. The duo defeated both their opponents from Austin Peay and Lincoln Memorial in two sets. Hatchett’s goal this season is to continue to push her teammates to be their best.
“Whether Bailey’s community is her team, her class, her campus or her city, she is determined to leave it better than she received it. Such is the case with our beach volleyball program and the University,” said Van Fleet.