Today, we are featuring another of our amazing SLU alumni, who has taken the lessons learned at SLU and applied them toward achieving his God-given dreams. We hope that you are encouraged and inspired by his story!
Gavin Rollins attended SLU 101, 201, 301, and 401 as a high school student and is a long-time summer staff member with SLU. He was recently elected to the Clay County (Florida) Board of County Commissioners and is now the youngest County Commissioner in the state of Florida!
Gavin’s journey into a career in public policy and government began at SLU 201 in Washington, D.C. Something “clicked” in Gavin as he heard from leaders in our nation’s Capital and he was awakened to the idea of leadership and ways he could begin NOW to make a difference in his community and country.
His first step was to connect with some mentors who could share advice and encouragement. As he continued in high school, college, and beyond, those mentors provided continual accountability and support. As a college student, Gavin grew more interested in local government and decided to run for city council in his hometown of Keystone Heights, Florida. At age 22, he ran against an opponent with over 30 years of business experience. Gavin stuck to his priorities, surrounded himself with a hard working team of supporters, and ultimately won the election by three votes. To Gavin, this was a testimony that every individual matters.
"SLU taught me to dream big and believe anything was possible then gave me the tools and training to make those dreams a reality at a young age. Young people often are told or believe they have to wait their turn or wait till they are older to make a difference. SLU empowers young people to make a difference right where they are."
As the youngest city councilman in Clay County’s history, Gavin worked diligently to keep taxes low, improve the efficiency of government, and promote religious freedom. He stood by his campaign promises, even in the face of intense opposition. Later, Gavin had the opportunity to work in public relations for the Clay County school district. In his most recent successful campaign for Clay County Commissioner, Gavin ran on a platform of strong families, a growing economy, and thriving lakes and land. Applying the lessons he learned at SLU, Gavin believes ideas can make a difference, and he continues to progress in his political career by valuing people and relationships, taking risks and embracing critical feedback, and staying rooted in his principles and beliefs.
For students who are just beginning their leadership journey, Gavin offers these words of advice:
- Failure is part of the process. Embrace and learn from it.
- Surround yourself with people who encourage and challenge you. You can’t succeed on your own.
- Don’t wait around to make a difference. Today matters, so make the most of it.
If you're an SLU alumni, we’d love to hear more about your journey and dream! You can submit your SLU story here.
Not an SLU alumni? Start your leadership journey TODAY!