1967 South Georgia Tech LPN graduate grateful for his education
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without South Georgia Tech,” said Charles Jenkins of Columbus, GA, who graduated from the Licensed Practical Nursing program in 1967. Jenkins enjoyed a career in the medical field for nearly 40 years and was able to provide for himself and his family with the education he received from what was known as “South Georgia Technical and Vocational School” in 1966 – 67.
Jenkins visited the college recently and received a tour of the campus that “had changed significantly” in the past 50 plus years. “I am glad I came back to visit in the daytime or I wouldn’t not have recognized the campus,” laughed Jenkins. “I drove in and I thought, I am lost. The campus has certainly changed.”
Even though the campus has undergone a transformation over the past five decades, one thing has not changed – students are still receiving a quality education that will prepare them for a career of a lifetime and give them the tools to earn a living for themselves and their families. In fact, South Georgia Technical College was recently named as the Best Community College in Georgia for 2020.
The other thing Jenkins recognized was the Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune airplane. “The plane at the entrance was here but it was located back where the aviation program was. I am glad it is still here,” said Jenkins. The plane he recognized is a World War II era Navy Lockheed P2V-7 that now sits on the front lawn beside the main entrance to the college. The aviation maintenance students gain practical experience practicing routine aircraft maintenance skills and proper techniques for stripping, inspecting, and refinishing propeller blades.
Jenkins grew up in Preston and he choose South Georgia Tech because it was close to home and the tuition was ‘cheap.’ “I had a paraplegic sister that I assisted in taking care of and I needed to be close by and we didn’t have a lot of money so, the price was right,” laughed Jenkins.
However, it was not nursing that first drew him to South Georgia Tech. “I had planned to enroll in the cosmetology program, but it was full and I would have had to wait another year, so I made the decision to enroll in the LPN program and I am glad I did.”
Jenkins graduated from the LPN program in 1967. After graduation he went to work for the Americus Sumter County Hospital. Then he left nursing for a year before being hired at Stewart Webster Hospital for four years. While he was there, he got engaged to his wife and they moved to Columbus where he was employed by the Columbus Medical Center which later became Columbus Regional Hospital. He worked for them for 33 years before he retired.
He and his late wife, Linda, raised two sons. One son is a Baptist minister and the other one works in insurance in Atlanta.
During the time that Jenkins attended South Georgia Technical College he lived in the dorm that is now known as McLain Hall. It was remodeled from a dorm to house the Licensed Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting and Adult Education classes and labs.
“I had some very good memories here,” said Jenkins. “The nursing students had to stay here during summer semester when a lot of the other students went home. I learned to play a card game called canasta and spent a lot of time visiting the girl’s dormitory.” He also remembers the men’s basketball team which was known as the “Techniques.”
Jenkins had a copy of his 1967 yearbook and shared memories of the students that he has been able to reconnect with over the past few years. Some of them have even had the opportunity to get together for lunch and reminisce about the time they spent on campus.
“I am thankful that I made the decision to continue my education here and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if it hadn’t been for South Georgia Tech,” said Jenkins, who also helped steer two of his nieces to come to school here. They are now proud graduates of South Georgia Tech as well.
If you are a graduate of South Georgia Technical College and would like to come back for a visit or share memories of how the college helped shaped you or your career, contact the South Georgia Technical College Resource Development Department at 229-931-2248 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.