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Rodgers Accepted To National FBI Youth Leadership Program

Rodgers Accepted  To National FBI  Youth Leadership  Program
Rilyn Rodgers
Rodgers Accepted  To National FBI  Youth Leadership  Program
Rilyn Rodgers

Rilyn Rodgers, a rising junior at Wheeler County High School, will have a once-in-a-lifetime experience this summer as she travels to Virginia to represent Georgia at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Youth Leadership Program Session 25.

Rodgers, a native of Wheeler County, has been around law enforcement her entire life, as she is the 16 year-old daughter of Department of Juvenile Justice Deputy Commissioner Rusty Rodgers and Georgia Bureau of Investigation Inspector Eve Rodgers. “My mom works with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and my dad works for the Department of Juvenile continued from page

Justice. I have grown up watching them commit themselves to serving others in an honorable way,” she explained.

After watching her parents, Rodgers has been intrigued by law enforcement, specifically the GBI and FBI, which led her to look into her options to learn more about each agency. She heard about the program several years ago, and has researched the program and all it entails until she was finally the eligible age to apply.

“I attended a law enforcement conference with my mom in the summer of 2023 and spoke to one of the previous attendees. I watched YouTube videos about the program and read on the internet all I could find,” she shared. “What really drew me in was the emphasis the program places on leadership development. Many students hear about the importance of being servant leaders and developing their leadership potential, but it is hard to find many students who practice it. As a rising junior, I felt this was the perfect time to work toward being a better version of me through this program. I was told early on that it was a very competitive program because only one student from each state is selected to attend. Even when the self-doubt would creep in, I pressed on and put everything I had in me into the process.”

To apply, Rodgers had to submit her high school transcripts, write a paper on a provided topic, and share information about her volunteer work, extracurricular activities, community involvement, and special recognitions. These items were evaluated by a panel of law enforcement officials who rated each application through a points system to determine the top five applicants, who were selected for an interview. “The interview panel included four law enforcement executives, who asked 12 or so tough questions that made me think and sweat,” she emphasized. “Several weeks after the interview, I was asked to provide information that I believe was used for a background check and I had to obtain a medical physical.”

After completing all of these steps, Rodgers learned that she had been selected to attend the program as Georgia’s only representative. “I love the state of Georgia and everything about it. From my local community and school to the beauty of our state and the political leadership we currently have in place, I can’t imagine a better state to represent. It is truly an honor, not only to be selected as the one person to represent Georgia, but to be able to show other students in rural Georgia that they, too, can compete with other students statewide and come out on top,” she remarked.

Rodgers will travel to the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, in two weeks to attend the two-week program. During the program, she will complete course work, classroom instruction, physical fitness training, and firearms safety exercises. She will also be able to visit several different places related to the program, such as the FBI Headquarters. “There is a strong emphasis during the program placed on leadership, principles, and development,” she commented.

Rodgers concluded, “I really appreciate being able to share information about this program to our area of the state. I have heard that most of the students selected are from metropolitan areas, not places like Wheeler County. For those who may be interested in future opportunities, applicants must be rising high school sophomores or juniors between 14-16 years old at the start date of the program, they must demonstrate high academic standards and good citizenship, and be able to fly alone.”

Ultimately, Rodgers hopes to be able to learn more about the agencies that interest her in hopes of potentially having a future in the criminal justice field, as she plans to obtain a law degree after high school.

FAMILY OF PUBLIC SERVANTS – Rilyn Rodgers was raised by two law enforcement officials, whose service inspired her to learn more about the FBI. (Pictured) Rilyn and her family pose at her brother’s recent high school graduation. L to R: Rusty Rodgers, Rilyn Rodgers, Rhett Rodgers, Eve Rodgers.

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