Chattahoochee Technical College honored its outstanding students and instructors in technical education at an annual awards luncheon held on Friday, Jan. 19 at the North Metro Campus.
At this event, Chattahoochee Technical College President Dr. Ron Newcomb announced the winners for the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) award, the Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education (EAGLE) award and the Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Education.
Chattahoochee Tech student Madison Potts of Cobb County received the 2018 GOAL award and Chattahoochee Tech Electrical and Computer Engineering instructor Stephanie O’Donoghue of Cobb County received the 2018 Rick Perkins Award. They both will advance to a regional competition in which they will compete against top students and instructors from Georgia’s technical colleges. Chattahoochee Tech student Samantha Massingill of Bartow County received the 2018 EAGLE award and will represent Chattahoochee Tech this spring at Georgia’s EAGLE Leadership Institute.
“Today we are celebrating the best of the best,” said Dr. Newcomb. “These award winners today remind us that our mission here at Chattahoochee Tech is not only about workforce development, but also about the development of the individual. Their stories illustrate for us the positive impact of technical education in the life of a person and their family.”
Through the GOAL awards program, technical college instructors across Georgia identify their most outstanding students and nominate them based on academic achievement and personal leadership. Chattahoochee Tech instructor Shari Szalwinski nominated GOAL winner Madison Potts who is an Interdisciplinary Studies student focusing on political science. A home-schooled high school graduate at the age of 15, Potts said that Chattahoochee Tech was the perfect place to launch her college education.
“What I found is that not just education, but meaningful careers start here, community starts here and opportunity starts here,” said Potts. “What I want to do is break the stigma that technical colleges are a fallback or a lesser choice. I want my community to know that for those who will be seeking a graduate degree like me, choosing a technical college is not just the first step in a higher educational journey, it is the very fuel that will launch opportunities.”
Potts currently serves as a Chattahoochee Tech student leader in the Student Government Association, the National Technical Honor Society and the Black Student Union. With a passion for community service, she also has worked as a student intern for Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta and for the King Center.
“Because of Chattahoochee Tech, with every opportunity and internship I put my mind to, I’ve had the confidence and ability to attain success,” said Potts. “No matter where you’re headed, this is where you should start. Technical college education changes lives and technical college graduates can change the world.”
Included among Chattahoochee Tech’s five finalists for the GOAL award were Rachel Gondek of Pickens County, Doinita Culda of DeKalb County, Jannet Dudome of Paulding County and U.S. Army veteran Marsellis Tubbs of Douglas County.
The Rick Perkins award for Excellence in Technical Instruction recognizes technical college instructors who make significant contributions to technical education through innovation and leadership in their fields. Stephanie O’Donoghue of Cobb County, Chattahoochee Tech’s lead instructor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology program, received the college’s 2018 Rick Perkins award.
“I know that a technical education changes lives,” said O’Donoghue. “We meet students where they are and take them where they need to go. We give them access to a quality and affordable education. I know that our communities are better and stronger because of what our students learn and because of what we do.”
O’Donoghue also stressed the importance of educating students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.
“What I love the most about being a technical educator is that we get to prepare students for success in STEM jobs,” said O’Donoghue. “And these jobs are going to be the core of the new digital economy. I just can’t stress enough how important technical skills are in this economy.”
Included among Chattahoochee Tech’s four finalists for the Rick Perkins Award were Business Management instructor Christal Blalock, Interiors instructor Ginger Burton and English instructor Jessica Nettles.
The Exceptional Adult in Georgia in Literacy Education program honors students who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in statewide adult education classes. Selection criteria include student character, attitude, attendance, leadership and community involvement activities. Chattahoochee Tech awarded the 2018 EAGLE award to Samantha Massingill of Bartow County.
“I found the Chattahoochee Tech Adult Education program and that is truly when my life began to turn around,” said Massingill. “It would have been easy to quit, to just give up, if it were not for the adult education program at Chattahoochee Tech.”
After earning her GED through Chattahoochee Tech’s Adult Education Program at the Summer Hill Complex in Cartersville, Massingill enrolled in the Chattahoochee Technical College Culinary Arts program.
“The instructors at the Adult Ed program encouraged me to achieve and helped me believe that I could go to college,” said Massingill. “I want to be able to encourage people who feel like they aren’t good enough. I want to be able to show people that they can have a future, and that they can achieve. I don’t want anyone to be afraid to fail or not try.”