Former Richmond Hill student Raechel Blitchington is using her time home from the University of Georgia this summer to gain experience through an internship at Lesley Francis PR in Richmond Hill.
Blitchington said growing up in Richmond Hill was unique. The schools, the sports and the people all played a role in her upbringing.
"My parents have raised me to not accept anything less than my best," she said.
Her many extracurricular activities at Richmond Hill High School kept her busy and involved. She was in Student Council, National Honor Society and Beta Club, was president of the Class of 2014 and Student Council president in 2012. She also played soccer as a freshman and sophomore. Her activities immersed her into situations in which she had to work with teams, learn to communicate and lead. This foundation has propelled her in college.
"Growing up, I have always known there were three things that I liked to do: reading, writing and talking. When it was time to go to college and I stumbled across Grady College of Journalism at UGA and specifically the major of public relations, I knew immediately it was what I wanted to do," Blitchington said.
Leaving home meant change, new opportunities and unfamiliar territory.
"Living my entire life in Richmond Hill, I felt like I knew everyone," she said. "I grew up with the same people since pre-K, and we were a really tightknit community. Richmond Hill felt so comfortable that is was definitely nerve-wracking and scary to be at UGA, a place four hours from home with 35,000 students. It’s a lot different there."
Despite the unfamiliar surroundings, Blitchington embraced college and obtained a social media internship at Athena Wellness. It was here she began to develop newsletters and two to three blog posts a week. It did not take long before Blitchington was put into a leadership position over other interns as a supervisor of brand promotion through the use of social media.
Aside from managing her school workload, becoming a member of the Kappa Delta Phi sorority and attaining membership with the Public Relations Student Society on campus, she is editor in chief for the UGA community on the social content site www.theodysseyonline.com. On top of her nearly 40 published pieces at theodysseyonline.com, Blitchington was selected from a nationwide pool of collegiate writers to contribute a promotional piece sponsored by Schick Razors.
Coming home in May provided a more career-focused opportunity through a summer internship.
"We selected Raechel via a competitive interview process for our 2016 summer internship, and I was impressed with her can-do attitude and the fact that she is a graduate of the excellent Richmond Hill school system. She is an excellent addition to our LFPR team, and we will miss her very much when she returns to her studies," said Lesley Francis, the CEO of Lesley Francis PR.
"One reason I was superexcited to work with LFPR was because I wanted to get a more unique perspective on the community that I grew up in," Blitchington said. "I have been able to get hands-on experience doing multiple different things, but most importantly, I have learned about relationship. Working with LFPR has shown me how beneficial relationships are in the business world, whether they are with clients, members of the community or the media. Cultivating those relationships is extremely important to maintain a healthy and positive client-business relationship."
Wherever the road leads, Blitchington said her foundation in Richmond Hill is strong and her future is brighter because of it. She hopes to one day lead her own company and eventually settle down to raise a family in a community like Richmond Hill.