The Judie Aronson Social Justice Initiative committee is pleased to announce its award selections for the 2023-2024 school  year.  This year’s recipients are: Emilie Fister from Hilton Head High, Galen Miller from May River High, and Garrett Simons, from Hilton Head High.

As an officer in the school Beta Club, Emilie impressed her teachers with her kindness and passion to give back to others. Despite working two jobs and playing two varsity sports, Emilie earned the Mayor’s Call to Service Award for contributing over 150 hours of service to the community. She started “dress down” days at her school to raise money for the Hilton Head Gullah Museum and the Malala Fund (advocacy for women’s education globally).


Galen exemplifies the cultural identity of his Gullah roots–the importance of family, community, and service. His work through the school Beta club, including cooking for families at Ronald McDonald House generated more than 300 applications for membership this year. Galen has worked with the Hilton Head MLK Committee for Justice as well, organizing service projects such as cleanup of Gullah cemeteries, Children’s Day at Boys and Girls Club, and encouraging students to register to vote. In his essay, Galen wrote about his “journey toward social consciousness guided by a deep-seated belief in the inherent dignity, worth and rights of every individual.”


Garrett recognized that children with disabilities and children of poverty were experiencing unfair treatment and advocated for them through Project Unify at his school and Pockets Full of Sunshine in the community. He raised funds, assembled, and delivered over 400 “birthday boxes” for families served by area food banks.  These boxes contain everything needed to celebrate a birthday in the family—banners, cards, cake mix, candles and soft drinks.