South Georgia Technical College holds Spring GED graduation ceremony

June 12, 2019
South Georgia Technical College Dean of Adult Education Lillie Ann Winn (right) is shown above the GED Graduation speaker Heather Hinton.
South Georgia Technical College Dean of Adult Education Lillie Ann Winn (right) is shown above the GED Graduation speaker Heather Hinton.

“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet,” was the quote that 2019 EAGLE Delegate and South Georgia Technical College GED Graduation speaker Heather Hinton shared with the graduates from the South Georgia Technical College 2019 Spring General Educational Development Diploma (GED) Graduation ceremony in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center on the SGTC Americus campus recently.

   Hinton addressed the 36 students from Sumter, Crisp, Schley, Macon, Marion, Taylor and Webster counties who received their general equivalency diplomas during the ceremony and shared with the group that she was standing where they were currently standing almost one year ago.

    “My story began 11 years ago when I was considered a drop out just three months from graduating high school, all due to my parents and I having to move closer to my father’s job,” said Hinton. “It was my senior year and my father tried homeschooling me, but due to his busy work schedule he was unable to. Life happened and years passed. My father’s health begins to go down. My education kept getting put on hold. I had signed up for GED classes before, but something always got in the way. Many years had gone by and my father’s health got so bad that I knew I had to say my final words to him. The night he passed away I promised him I would get my GED.”

   Fast forward to 2018 and Heather Hinton kept that promise and received her GED certificate. Today she is currently in her third semester pursuing a dual degree in Computer Support and Networking Specialist at South Georgia Technical College. She is also a work-study student in the IT department.

    “I went through everything that each and every one of you have gone through. I earned my GED and now you have done the same thing. It is a huge relief. You have finally gotten it off your shoulders, you are done. Before graduation I felt like an unfinished Rubik’s cube, but once I got my GED a whole new world opened up for me and it will for you as well. I can’t express how excited I am for each of you,” said Hinton.

   South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford welcomed the graduates, faculty members, family and friends who came to the Pope Center for the ceremony. He also congratulated the graduates on their achievements and told them that graduations were one of the most favorite parts of his job as President. “You are here today and you deserve to be honored for your accomplishment of achieving this diploma. Congratulations on your decision to attend South Georgia Technical College. Congratulations on choosing to earn your GED and to come to class. There is nothing that you cannot conquer or overcome now, but you have come too far to only come this far. I encourage you to continue your educational journey,” said President Watford.

   Dr. Watford also shared with the graduates, their families, and friends that college admissions’ officials were waiting in the lobby to accept an application for Fall Semester 2019 which starts August 13, 2019. GED graduates also receive a $500 scholarship for attaining the GED diploma, so it just makes sense to continue your education,” explained Dr. Watford.

   Lillie Ann Winn, South Georgia Tech Dean of Adult Education, echoed Dr. Watford’s congratulations and introduced Heather Hinton as the guest speaker for the event.

   After Heather Hinton’s talk, President Watford, SGTC Vice President of Academic Affairs David Kuipers and Dean of Adult Education Winn recognized the graduates and presented them with their diplomas.

   Adult Education instructor Robbie Edalgo Rev. delivered the invocation at the ceremony. Lisa Truitt provided the piano selections including the traditional processional and music for the graduates.

  Jimmy Whaley, President of the Americus Rotary Club and an officer for the Americus-Sumter County Chamber of Commerce came forward and presented the Chamber Platinum Trustee Scholarship to Minh Nguyen, who scored the highest on his GED exam. He received a $1,000 scholarship to continue his education at South Georgia Technical College.

   Listed below are the GED graduates from the individual counties who earned the right to participate in the ceremony:

Sumter County:  Breshae Alridge, Kaitlin Benson, Chase Chaudoin, Donisha Denmark, Elizabeth Dickerson, Faith Edwards, Gabriel Golden, Virginia Gomes, Zitreal Guyton, Lauren Holloway, Minh Nguyen, Shana Rainey, Fernandosaul Ruvalcaba, Dylan Scoggins, Brittany Smith, and Derick Stokes;

Crisp County:  Brandii Aponte, Tevion Dempsey, Barbara Mitchell, Dalton Nazworth, Joshua Phelps, and Kaitlyn Saldana;

Marion County: Jasmyn Carr, Misty Churunel, Linda Gay, and Brodie Studdard;

Macon County:  Christiana Ansley, Andrew Johnson, and Matthew Yoder;

Taylor County: Jason Fuller, and Brent Sthilaire;

Webster County: Elizabeth Conley.

   Lillie Ann Winn is the South Georgia Technical College PA for Adult Education for SDA 15, Lisa Jordan is the Adult Education Administrative Assistant, Lisa Truitt is the GED Chief Examiner and Kenia Wills, Sherri Martin, Shuri Rand, and Ed Turley are GED Examiners.

   The South Georgia Tech Adult Education instructors include: Cindy Bagwell, Robbie Edalgo, Betty Ann Eschmann, Lissa Faircloth, Alanna Goolsby, Angie Kauffman, Mary King, Connie Mathis, Tonya Visage, Virginia Wilson and Mary Wooldridge. Tracy Israel is the Adult Education Transition Specialist.

   Special thanks to the Americus Rotary Club as the Premier GED Graduation Sponsor, the Americus-Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, Flint Energies, the Perry Wellness Center, and the South Georgia Technical College Foundation for supporting the GED program.

   For more information about the Adult Education and GED classes, contact South Georgia Tech at 229.931.2565.

South Georgia Technical officials who attended the 2019 GED graduation. Shown l to r are: Wally Summers, SGTC Vice President of Economic Development, GED Examiner Shuri Rand, Robbie Edalgo, GED Instructor; Jimmy Whaley of the Americus Rotary Club and Americus-Sumter County Chamber; SGTC Vice President of Administrative Services Lea Coe; Speaker Heather Hinton, Special Assistant to the SGTC President Don Smith; GED Instructor Betty Ann Eschmann, SGTC Vice President for Academic Affairs David Kuipers, SGTC Board members Mattye Gordon and Jake Everett, GED Instructor Mary King, SGTC President Dr. John Watford, GED Instructor Tonya Visage, SGTC Dean of Adult Education Lillie Ann Winn, Adult Ed Administrative Assistant Lisa Jordan, GED Instructors Cindy Bagwell and Alanna Goolsby.  Not shown is SGTC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Su Ann Bird.
wn above with SGTC Dean of Adult Education Lillie Ann Winn are the instructors and staff in the SGTC Adult Education department.
Shown above are the Sumter County South Georgia Technical College GED graduates and their instructors.
Shown above are the Crisp County South Georgia Technical College GED graduates and their instructor, Robbie Edalgo.
Mary King, GED Instructor is shown above with the Marion County GED graduates that walked at the ceremony.