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OTC Holds Commencement Exercises

Ron Jackson, commissioner for the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), brought the keynote message at Okefenokee Technical College’s Winter and Spring Quarter 2009 Commencement Exercises Friday, July 17, 2009, at the Waycross Middle School auditorium. Photo 1

Jackson told graduates, “the mission of OTC and the TCSG is to see that every graduate who walks across this stage…is successful in life and walks out with the skills they need to get good jobs that will, in fact, create a life that supports their families and their communities.”

“This graduation tonight,” stated Jackson, “is about change - change in your lives, change in your careers, change in how others will see you, change for your resumes, change for the better. Great opportunities await you.”
He encouraged them to take inspiration from Yuichiro Miura, known internationally as “the man who skied down Mt. Everest” and “never stop taking on life’s challenges.” Photo 2

The ceremony, coordinated by OTC Graduation Marshall Neal Murphy, began at 7 p.m. with the processional. OTC Board Chair Ola Smith of the McKinney Community Health Center gave the invocation, which was followed by the presentation of colors by the Ware County JROTC. Anna Norris of Alma and niece to Murphy, sang the National Anthem.

Danita Cannon, VP for student affairs, welcomed guests to the ceremony and introduced Gary Mikel, OTC’s 2009 GOAL recipient, a respiratory care technology student from Bacon County. Mikel addressed the audience, stating what an honor it is to represent OTC students and how he has enjoyed using this unique opportunity as a GOAL spokesperson to promote technical education.

Following Mikel’s remarks, the audience again enjoyed the beautiful voice of Anna Norris as she sang, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
OTC President Gail Thaxton recognized special guests, which included OTC Board members, OTC Foundation trustees, city and county government leaders, political and community leaders, and local school officials. “On behalf of the faculty and staff of Okefenokee Tech, we appreciate your involvement in our success,” Thaxton told the group. “You interface with the college in such crucial ways. It is a pleasure and our honor to partner with you to improve the lives of our citizens through technical education.”
Thaxton also recognized OTC faculty and staff for their work and dedication to students and education. She then introduced the featured speaker, telling graduates that Jackson is “your champion, always fighting hard for the big things – facilities, funding, equipment, recognition for quality and excellence in technical education - to ensure that your technical education is second to none.”Photo 3

Thaxton’s introduction of Commissioner Jackson included his many accomplishments resulting from his leadership, management, and communication talents. “When I asked Commissioner Jackson to keynote this occasion,” stated Thaxton, “he quickly agreed and added that he loves graduations.”

Following Jackson’s speech, Thaxton conferred the diplomas and Associate of Applied Science degrees upon graduates. Afterwards, Thaxton; Dr. Steve Pearce, VP for academic affairs; Board Chair Smith; and Commissioner Jackson awarded diplomas and degrees to the following graduates:

Bacon County: Beth Carter, Practical Nursing; Kayla Douglas, Cosmetology; Dorothy Howard, Practical Nursing; Brandy Hutto, Practical Nursing; Ty Hutto, Cosmetology; Kasey Scott Newberry, Practical Nursing; and Jenny Pritchett, Practical Nursing

Brantley County: Tammy Lee, Cosmetology

Camden County: Tina Cisco, Practical Nursing; Jenny Lynn Cisco, Practical Nursing; Randi Jo Melbye, Cosmetology; and Tiffany Roberson, Cosmetology

Charlton County: Hali Clark, Cosmetology; and Ashley Wilson, Practical Nursing

Clinch County: Camellia Stanhope, Business Office TechnologyPhoto 4

Coffee County: Courtney Adams, AAS Respiratory Therapy Technology; Pamela Sirmans, Business Office Technology; and Shanna Solorio, Accounting

Pierce County: Latisha Benitez, Early Childhood Care and Education; Christy Johnson, Accounting; Belinda Mullis, Business Office Technology; Melinda Roberson, Cosmetology; Dwan Smith, Practical Nursing; and Alexis Winters, Cosmetology

Ware County: Amissa Boggs, Early Childhood Care and Education; Justina Carter, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; Tara Carter, Practical Nursing; Angela Clark, Early Childhood Care and Education; Lisa Cox, Practical Nursing; Amber Davis, Practical Nursing; Cynthia Dyal, AAS Accounting & AAS Administrative Office Technology; Denise Edwards, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; Glen Fish, Automotive Fundamentals; Leslie Heath, Drafting Technology; Ralph Higgs, AAS Forest Technology; Rebecca Hinnant, Business Administrative Technology; Claudia Irons, Marketing Management; Erica Johnson, Practical Nursing; Julianna Lacefield, Practical Nursing; Brandie McLaughlin, Business Office Technology; Paynia Morgan, Practical Nursing; Casey Murray, Practical Nursing; Brandy Norman, Business Administrative Technology; Traci O’Berry, Forest Technology; Elizabeth Payne, Practical Nursing; Jutecia Pinckney, Practical Nursing; Laurine Porter, Practical Nursing; Shenna Presley, Early Childhood Care and Education; Amanda Raleigh, Practical Nursing; Akina Roberts, Cosmetology; and Randall Todd, Electronics Fundamentals.

Wayne County: Elizabeth Spradley, Forest Technology.

Photo 1:

Ron Jackson, Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia, was the featured speaker at OTC’s commencement exercises held at the Waycross Middle School auditorium July 17. OTC President Gail Thaxton (second from left), OTC Board Chair Ola Smith (right), and OTC Foundation Chair Larry Paulk (left) welcomed Jackson. 

Photo 2:

OTC Foundation trustee, Judge Kelly Brooks (right), and his wife Nancy (left) are shown here with Dr. Bonnie Davis, OTC board member, and Marion Davis, former OTC trustee and board member, as they visit before the ceremony.

Photos 3 & 4:

OTC faculty and staff hosted a reception for Commissioner Ron Jackson prior to commencement. Area community leaders were on hand to welcome the commissioner and to support and congratulate graduates.


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