The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) recently honored 28 of Georgia’s adult learners from throughout the state for their exceptional accomplishments and outstanding participation in the state’s adult education program. Among the 28 was Elizabeth Waiyaki of Acworth, who represented Chattahoochee Technical College.
Each year, the Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education (EAGLE) Award recognizes the educational achievement and outstanding leadership skills demonstrated by students who are in the process of studying for or have earned their GED® credential. The 28 EAGLE students were honored during the EAGLE Institute banquet at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel in Atlanta on March 19.
Waiyaki was one of the eight finalists from the group interviewed by a panel of judges for selection as the state EAGLE Award winner and adult education student of the year. Two days later, during a luncheon in the students’ honor on March 21, Jackson announced that the judges had chosen Stephanie Garcia, a student in the adult education program at Middle Georgia Technical College, for the top award.
Jackson congratulated Garcia and all of her fellow EAGLE students on their achievements and thanked them for being influential role models for the more than 1.2 million adults in Georgia who are still without their high school diploma.
“The recognition that you have earned goes far beyond today and any award that you may hold in your hands,” said Jackson. “Each of you has a wonderful story to share of how education has changed your life and opened the doors of opportunity. From this day forward, people in your community and throughout our state will look to you for the inspiration to overcome life’s obstacles and work to earn their GED.”
Jackson then presented Garcia with the winner’s prize, the keys to a brand new 2013 Kia Forte. The car was donated to the EAGLE program by Jeff Smith, owner of the Jeff Smith Automotive Group in Warner Robins, which includes Jeff Smith Kia in Perry, Georgia.
“We can’t thank Jeff Smith enough for his generous support of the EAGLE Award program. His donation of the beautiful new Kia Forte is an amazing recognition of the hard work and perseverance of Ms. Garcia and all the people like her who want to improve their lives and find opportunity through Georgia’s adult education program,” said Jackson.
More than 77,000 men and women enrolled in Georgia’s adult education programs during 2012. Last year, almost 19,000 Georgians earned their GED diploma.
Here’s full list of the 2013 EAGLE Award winners along with the technical college or local school system that administers their adult education program (finalists for and the winner of the adult education student of the year are in parenthesis):
Matthew Newsome, Albany Technical College
Diana Spears, Altamaha Technical College
Patricia Jackson, Athens Technical College
Willie Simmons, Jr., Atlanta Public Schools
Hector Leyva, Atlanta Technical College (finalist)
Kelly Wise, Augusta Technical College
Jacole Robertson, Central Georgia Technical College
Elizabeth Waiyaki, Chattahoochee Technical College (finalist)
Latesha Hall, Clayton County Schools
Dodie Fretwell, Cobb County School District (finalist)
Ana Victoria Ramirez, Dalton State College
Jackie Jenkins, Georgia Northwestern Technical College
Justin Horner, Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Brigitte Accary, Lanier Technical College
Stephanie Garcia, Middle Georgia Technical College (2013 adult education student of the year)
Thomas Bell, Moultrie Technical College
Dominique Williams, Muscogee County Schools
Kelly Johnson, North Georgia Technical College (finalist)
Angel Kitchens, Oconee Fall Line Technical College
Teena Nguyen, Ogeechee Technical College
Dyarl Jackson, Okefenokee Technical College (finalist)
Rhasheda Fann, Savannah Technical College
Matthew Montgomery, South Georgia Technical College
Gary Edwards, Southeastern Technical College
Zachary Jenkins, Southern Crescent Technical College (runner-up for student of the year)
Tawana Graham, Southwest Georgia Technical College (finalist)
Cassie Creech, West Georgia Technical College
Sarah Biggs, Wiregrass Technical College