Chattahoochee Technical College announced the winners of its outstanding student and instructor competitions on Friday, Jan. 18, in an awards ceremony held at the North Metro Campus with student Sue Nguyen and instructor Stephanie Puffer, both of Cobb County, receiving top honors. Nguyen received the college’s 2019 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) and Puffer received the Chattahoochee Tech 2019 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year award. In the college’s Adult Education program, Derrick Whitaker, of Bartow County, received the 2019 Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education (EAGLE) award. On behalf of the Chattahoochee Tech Foundation, Board of Trustees Chairman Jason Anavitarte presented each student winner with a $500 award.
GOAL, a statewide program of the Technical College System of Georgia, honors excellence in academics and leadership among the state’s technical college students. “Three years ago, I was just a little girl coming from Vietnam and feeling uncertain about everything in America,” said GOAL winner Sue Nguyen, who is pursuing an associate degree in Marketing Management. “It was technical education that welcomed me with open arms and a wonderful academic journey. I will make sure to apply all the great things that I’ve learned to contribute to society.”
The other four finalists for the GOAL award competition at Chattahoochee Tech were: Abigail Carter, Christopher Kattner, Nicki Rowland and Alicia Thompson.
The Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction honors the Technical College System of Georgia’s most outstanding instructors who make significant contributions to technical education through innovation and leadership in their fields. Rick Perkins award winner Stephanie Puffer, who serves as the college’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program Director, noted that she was motivated to become a technical college instructor because her educational background is similar to many of the students at Chattahoochee Tech. “I started my educational journey at a two-year college,” said Puffer. “After I received my doctorate, I was teaching part time at a university but, once I had the opportunity to teach at Chattahoochee Tech, I realized that this is where I belong.”
“Our students’ stories are my story,” said Puffer. “They motivate me every day with their intelligence, humor and capacity to change their lives. As they leave here, they will be equipped to help others, which, in turn, strengthens our community.”
The other four finalists for the Rick Perkins award competition at Chattahoochee Tech were: First Runner-up, English Instructor Jennifer Staton; Environmental Technology Instructor Stephen Anderson; English and Spanish Instructor Frank Inscoe; and Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Director Amy Shaffer.
The Exceptional Adult Georgia in Literacy Education (EAGLE) program celebrates adult learners in pursuit of excellence. This program recognizes and honors students who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in statewide adult education classes. “Attending the Adult Education program at Chattahoochee Tech and obtaining my GED gave me a new outlook on life,” said the Chattahoochee Tech 2019 EAGLE winner Derrick Whitaker. “My career goal is to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.”
The other three finalists for the EAGLE award competition at Chattahoochee Tech were: Anibal Arenas, Aaron Lockhart and Debra Hajloo.