(Media release from Georgia Northwestern Technical College):

Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Office of Adult Education held its Fall 2022 Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 8, for students who have earned their General Educational Development® (GED®) diplomas.

The ceremony was held at the Conference Center on GNTC’s Gordon County Campus in Calhoun to accommodate students and families from all nine counties of GNTC’s service area.

The evening began with a welcome and introductions by Lisa Shaw, vice president of Adult Education at GNTC, followed by opening remarks by Dr. Heidi Popham, GNTC president, and the introduction of GNTC’s 2023 EAGLE delegate, Holly Hogan, by Regina Casteel, GNTC Adult Education career specialist. Casteel noted that Hogan continues to give back to the Adult Education program.

“I’ve spent a lot of time helping my peers at the Shirley Smith Learning Center (in Ringgold), tutoring them in math,” Hogan said. “I’ve had a lot of fun watching everyone learn and finally graduate.”

Hogan was chosen to represent GNTC at the Dinah Culbreath Wayne Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education (EAGLE) Leadership Institute state competition on March 1-2, 2023. The Leadership Institute recognizes and honors those students who have demonstrated superior achievement in Adult Education classes and programs.

“I watched some of you struggle and then encourage each other,” she said. “I’m so proud of each and every one of you.”

A resident of Ringgold, Hogan is attending GNTC to earn her associate degree in Accounting after completing her GED® diploma within two months. She said her career objective is to earn her bachelor’s degree and become a bookkeeper for small businesses.

EAGLE is the first statewide program in the nation that recognizes and rewards excellence among students enrolled in Adult Education programs. This student recognition program is designed to create greater awareness of educational opportunities that are available in local communities across the state and to foster greater involvement in lifelong learning pursuits.

Listed are the graduates who participated in the Fall 2022 GED® Commencement Ceremony. This list does not include students that have graduated, but did not participate in the ceremony, or students that registered for the ceremony after the GED® commencement program was printed: Kerri Achary, Jennifer Rose Ali, Savannah Clark, Stephanie Marie Cochran, Krista Coffia, Emrey Cole-Castillo, Cameron James Combs, Bailey Davis, Tiffany Davis, Damien Deerman, Laine Matthew Dean Fancher, Patricia Danielle Heard, Ethin Riley Hester, Jordin Anthony Hester, Elizabeth Hulsey, Carrie Jackson, Meagan Kastanias, Heather Kinamore, Holley Marie Long, April Marie Melly, Liam Oliver, Ariel Suzette Pena, Tiffany Peters, Heather Phillips, Armand Jeremy Pilcher, Leanne Posey, Caroline Rogers, Christian Gabriel Sanford, Ashton Alex Shepherd, Kala Smith, Darian Nikole Tarver, Destin Troutman, Jason Matthew Ward Jr., Sierra Whitesell, Hannah Winner and Dominic Zulu.

Derrick McDaniel, Adult Education instructional coordinator, recognized Honor graduates Savannah Clark, Bailey Davis, Meagan Kastanias, Holley Marie Long, Christian Gabriel Sanford and Jason Matthew Ward Jr.

Popham recognized Ward Jr., who had the highest grade point average on all four sections of the GED® exam, as well as the highest score on one section of the exam. Scholarship recipients Damien Deerman, Destin Troutman and Ward Jr. were also recognized.

The Adult Education program acknowledged the following organizations who provided GED® scholarships: Calhoun-Gordon Council for a Literate Society, Catoosa Citizens for Literacy, Chattooga County Literacy Council, Conasauga Drug Court Program, Dalton-Whitfield Community Foundation, Dalton Rotary Club, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, GNTC Foundation, LaFayette Presbyterian Church, North Georgia EMC, Polk County Rotary Club, Rome-Floyd County Commission on Children and Youth, Rome Rotary Club, Shaw Industries, Tallatoona Community Action Partnership Inc. and The Randall Fox Foundation.

GNTC is an official General Educational Development® Testing Center and a site for computer-based GED® Testing in partnership with Pearson Vue, GED® Testing Services, and the Technical College System of Georgia. The mission of GNTC’s Adult Education program is to enable every adult learner in the service delivery area to acquire the necessary basic skills to be able to compete successfully in today’s workplace, strengthen family foundations and exercise full citizenship.

Dr. Heidi Popham, GNTC president, recognizes Jason Matthew Ward Jr., who had the highest average on all four sections of the GED® exam, as well as the highest score on one section of the exam.