Girl Scout Gold Award Winner Alyissa Castle-Lloyd helps others get Running Start


Girl Scout Gold Award earner Alyissa Castle-Lloyd wanted to unite Running Start students with a club that would serve as a space for support as they go through college at an earlier age.

So she started the ‘Running Start Club’ at Highline College, with the goal of creating a space for students to find community, social enrichment, and support future students entering the Running Start program (Running Start is a program for 11 and 12th-grade students to be able to attend community college).

“College is a lot different than high school, and there is not much navigating through the process,” Alyissa told The Waterland Blog. “I struggled a lot trying to figure out things my first year as a Running Start student, and I felt bad for other students who were also experiencing it, and so my second year I started the club so that students in the program can come together and get help from each other and have a welcoming place they can go to meet new people, study together, talk about resources and tips and tricks for working with the system and talking about teacher and class suggestions and so on.”

Alyissa grew up in the Federal Way area, where she attended Star Lake Elementary School and Totem Middle School before switching to the Highline School District and Mount Rainier High School for her junior and senior year. She participated in the Running Start program which allowed her to go to Highline College while still in high school and earn college credits. In the end she graduated with an AA degree and honors from both her high school and college.

She’s been driven to succeed since she was just a Brownie.

“I started Girl Scouts in second grade, joining my elementary school’s Brownie Troop,” she said. “There were advertisements for it around the school and I wanted to get involved in something. Then around 4th grade I heard of another troop in the Des Moines/Normandy Park area that was doing a lot more activity, and it sounded a lot more fun and interactive so I moved to that troop. I then stayed with that troop up until I graduated from high school and scouts.”

And last June, Alyissa won a Gold Award from the Girl Scouts at a gala at the Museum of Flight. The Gold Award empowers young women to be involved in their community and make an impact on the lives of others. Research has shown that Girl Scout Gold Award earners rate general success in life significantly higher. High success has been reported in reaching goals in:

  • Life skills
  • Community
  • Career advancement

Through rigorous work, focused dedication and community engagement, these girls are changing lives – and the world.

“It felt really nice to get the award,” she said. “It made me feel more proud of all the hard work I put into the clubs and lectures and emails. It felt really gratifying knowing that I could make a small difference that helps a lot of people and could become something more.”

Next up for Alyissa will be continuing attending Western Washington University, where she will graduate with a degree in Financial Economics in the Winter of 2020.

“Thanks to the Running Start program I will get to graduate two years earlier than normal,” she said. “After that I’m hoping to attend the Pima Medical Institute of Seattle to go into the radiology tech program.”

She offers this advice for other young people who want to “achieve their dreams”:

“I personally believe that if you dream enough and put your whole being into that dream that you can make it come true. Tough times may come and there may be times you feel like you cant make it, but as long as you keep your eyes on the prize and tell yourself you will make it, you can do great things. Most importantly though, don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way. I may have gotten the gold award which was a huge dream of mine, but without the help of people at Highline College as well as my mother and Girl Scout leader I would have never been able to complete it.”



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