news-category: Black History Month Profile

Gardner-Webb Homecoming Queen Encourages Those Around Her to Dream Big

Gabby Bailey, ’24, Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s Question: ‘What are You Doing for Others?’

By Isabella Brown, ’24, Intern for University Communications

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—“As a black female, I take pride in representing—and even empowering—other females of color. Obstacles will always come, that never means you have to stop pursuing your dreams,” asserted Gabby Bailey, Gardner-Webb’s 2023 Homecoming Queen.

Bailey shares her story in celebration of Black History Month. During the month, Gardner-Webb will highlight several students who are making a difference on campus and in their communities. Through their creative passions and leadership skills, these students honor their heritage and encourage others to achieve their dreams.

Gabby Bailey, right, enjoys working as a teacher assistant in the biology labs.

As a senior biology major, Bailey plans to continue her education to pursue a career as a dental hygienist. Her main reason for choosing this field is her passion for helping others, which is also something Bailey has already made a priority while attending Gardner-Webb. As a peer leader, teaching assistant and an employee for Campus Recreation, Bailey strives to motivate other students to enhance their academic experience while also enjoying college life.

Being a part of the campus recreation team includes the opportunity to design activities that enrich students’ physical, mental, spiritual, and social quality of life as part of the Gardner-Webb community. And as part of this team, Bailey works hard to make sure students are having fun!

While she believes all her roles on campus are important, Bailey finds the most joy in being able to inspire students on their academic journeys. “I am a teacher assistant for different biology labs in the natural sciences department,” she expressed. “This is one of my favorite activities on campus. It prepares me for my future career: being hands on and helping others as a dental hygienist.”

Her dreams of the future reflect those of civil rights leader and visionary, Martin Luther King Jr. who spoke these words: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

Gardner-Webb’s homecoming queen endeavors to answer King’s challenge by encouraging students to dream big and always make serving others their greatest mission. “When I think of Black History Month, I think of Martin Luther King Jr. A fun fact that makes his inspiration so special to me is that on the day I was born it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day!” she explained, “Martin Luther King Jr. was also an inspiration to me because each time I see a group of different races gathered, I think back to what he did to make that possible for us today.”

Gabby Bailey is inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and is proud that on the day she was born, the country was celebrating MLK Day. (Photo by Taylor Payne / Intern for University Communications)

Bailey is also inspired by Simone Biles, the first female U.S. gymnast to win four gold medals and three consecutive world all-around titles. Biles’ legacy inspires Bailey and countless other women to conquer any challenge that comes their way. “She constantly shows her talent as a black woman, inspiring girls of color to participate in sports and other activities of their interest,” Bailey shared.

Women and men like Biles and King have built a foundation of hope for future generations, their message always rooted in love, an act which takes the greatest courage. Just like these empowering individuals that she looks up to, Bailey wholeheartedly encourages others to work hard to achieve their goals and take on new challenges. She noted, “Running for homecoming was important to me, because I truly wanted to make a change as well as step out of my comfort zone here at Gardner-Webb.”

Writer Isabella Brown is a senior English major.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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