By Rajesh Gupta, Senior Garden Manager

May is always a bittersweet month at Jolly Avenue Garden, as we welcome new additions to the Growing Leaders program, but also say good-bye to graduating members of the team. 

This year, Boi Sang will move onto the next phase of his life as he embarks on new challenges as a freshman at Toccoa Falls College and as a US Army Reservist. Throughout Boi’s two year tenure at Jolly Avenue Garden, he has demonstrated his ability to be a leader, always stepping in to fulfill a need: whether it be a physical planting task, participating in an educational program, or supporting a community event.  Along the way, he has developed deep, respected relationships with his fellow Growing Leaders and the community of growers at the garden, especially Chin speakers (his native language). 

I speak a lot about heart amongst students and growers at the garden.  Go figure, my fondest memory of Boi happened when he displayed a great amount of heart at an unlikely moment during nothing more than an “ice breaker” question at the start of a Growing Leaders’ meeting, last year. 

The question was “What would you do with a million dollars?”  Expecting the goofy response that should come from any 17 year old given this scenario, Boi responded without hesitation that he would use it to support aid in his native country of Burma. 

The answer always stuck with me, because I think it represents the deep level of connection and hope that so many people like Boi, living in Clarkston, still have for their home country or places of origin.  It also provides so much hope for the next generation of Americans coming up in this country.  People, like Boi, really are driven to make changes for the good all over the world, Georgia included; and I know it comes from having a ton of heart. 

As an organization, we wish nothing but the best for Boi in the next step of his life.  High school graduation is in a few weeks, his Growing Leaders position ends a week after that, but I know so much good is to come.  Anyone on his team as a reservist will be lucky to serve with him, as well as, any fellow students at Toccoa will be lucky to know him. 

I hope the next four years provides him with all the fun and challenging times that I encountered in my college years filled with midnight soccer sessions, rallying for 8 am classes, hiking on the weekends, and the unique bonds formed with other students during late night study sessions. 

Good Luck out there, Boi, and enjoy the adventure!

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