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OTC Honors GED Graduates at Adult Education Ceremony

The Okefenokee Technical College (OTC) Fall 2012 Adult Education graduation ceremony was held Thursday, October 25, 2012, at 7 p.m. at the Waycross Middle School Auditorium.

Those who participated in the commencement are graduates of the OTC adult education program who successfully passed the last of five required General Educational Development (GED) exams within the last six months and chose to be formally recognized for their accomplishments. Graduates included residents from all six counties served by Okefenokee Technical College’s adult education program.

The ceremony began with the processional and a welcome by Dr. Steve Pearce, executive director of adult education, followed by the invocation. Ware County GED graduate Chantel L. Deal gave the invocation.

The Ware County High School Color Guard presented the Colors. Jurieka Melvin, lead marshal, along with Wayne Waldon, Shayne McCaskill, Jay Carter, Storm Noel, and Alexis Bowden made the presentation as Mr. Darrell Casey, Charlton County adult education instructor, led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and Ms. Cheyenne Taylor Self, a Ware County GED student, sang The National Anthem.

After the Color Guard exited, Ms. Kimberly Daniels, OTC’s 2012 GOAL winner, sang a special song she selected for the occasion.

Mr. Andy Brannen, vice president for economic development, introduced the keynote speaker, the Honorable Michael D. DeVane, Superior Court Judge in the Waycross Judicial Circuit.

Judge DeVane congratulated the 2012 graduates and encouraged them to continue their education. His message included several references to the twenty-sixth president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt.  Known for his tremendous work ethic and energy, President Roosevelt was presented by Judge DeVane as an example of one who, regardless of financial success, still worked hard and pursued many interests throughout his life.  Many times, according to DeVane, President Roosevelt’s trail blazing exploits are likened to that of pioneers. Judge DeVane explained that, like pioneers, the graduates being honored tonight had accomplished a difficult task and were now embarking on a new season in their lives. Judge DeVane encouraged graduates to make learning a way of life. He stressed that continuing education is a necessary reality for career and job success. With a GED diploma in hand, this exciting, new phase of life can begin.

The salutatorian, Jacob Andrew Rhoden, and the valedictorian, Andrea Gail Mahovetz, both made speeches of inspiration, encouragement, and victory to their peers and other attendees.  They expressed their appreciation to those who provided encouragement and sometimes tough love, actions that helped them continue and complete their goal.

On hand to congratulate graduates and participate in the evening celebration were the following Okefenokee Technical College officials and staff:  Dr. Glenn Deibert, president; Mr. Andy Brannen, vice president for economic development; Dr. Steve Pearce, executive director of adult education; and  the following adult education full-time instructors:  Darrell Casey (Charlton), Cathy Daniels (Ware), Gloria Reid (Pierce), Beth Strickland (Bacon), Patia Tolle (Clinch), and Sheryl Trammell (Brantley).

Graduates were presented to the audience by their county of residence. OTC adult education full-time instructors recognized each of their respective graduates individually as graduates crossed the stage to receive their diploma. Dr. Deibert, assisted by Mr. Brannen, and Dr. Pearce, presented diplomas to graduates.

The following Fall 2012 OTC adult education graduates were recognized:

Bacon County
Austin Lord, Rocky Dewayne Oglesby, Nachebia Robinique Reid, Kevin Latraycious Reynolds, and Cecilia Chasity Thompson

Brantley County

Chelsea Marie Cothren, Heather Nicole Foster, Misty Leigh Griffin, Kimberly Paige Howard (honor graduate), Brittany Michelle Keen, Lindsey Nicole Lee, Benjamin Leroy Moore, Jessica Lyn Partin, Stormi Rai Patrick (honor graduate), Brytney Leann Stock, and Michael Wainright

Charlton County
Timothy David Murphy and Holly Ann Spikes (honor graduate)

Clinch County
Jeremy Bell, Peyton Wendell Clark, Chavez W. Daniels, Kimberly Winn Davis, Ashton Hendrix, Christopher James Hurst (honor graduate), Darra Ann Murray (honor graduate), Kylee Elaine Shaw (honor graduate), Casey Jordan Shearouse (honor graduate), Queena Stalvey, and Stephanie Strickland  

Pierce County

Jessica Gardner and Linda Ryan

Ware County
Caleb Daniel Barnard, Candace Burrier, Carole Leona Cowart, Elaina Crews (honor graduate), Chantel L. Deal, Tyler Durham, D’Atra Edwards, Austin Hiett Green, Caitlin Miranda Hayes (honor graduate), Amber LeAnne Herrin, Brandy Nicole Hickox, Jerry Jerome Lee, Jr., Andrea Gail Mahovetz (valedictorian), Jasmine M. McClain, Storm McMichael (honor graduate), Hao Nguyen, Jacob Andrew Rhoden (salutatorian), Rita F. Rollins, Nicole Lynn Stanley, Julia Darlene Thompson (honor graduate), and William Turner III

When all graduates had been named and had their award in hand, Dr. Glenn Deibert lead them in “The Moving of the Tassel,” which commemorates the official act of a candidate for graduation becoming an actual graduate. 

The auditorium was filled with family and friends of the graduates who joined Dr. Deibert in congratulatory celebrations.

Also recognized at the ceremony were three students who had completed OTC’s English as a Second Language program. The program, taught by Eugenia Evans, takes a skill-centered approach with classes for skill levels from beginner to advanced. The following students completed the highest ESL class and plan to enroll in the adult education program: Rodrigo Arzate, Ana Esquivel, and Yeralda Moye.

The benediction was given by Ms. Carole Leona Cowart. Ushers were Hazel Coffee, administrative services assistant for adult education, and Cassie Jacobs Howard, transition specialist for adult education. The pianist was Ms. Sondra Chapman. 

OTC holds an adult education commencement twice each year, spring and fall.  Students who participate in graduation ceremonies represent a portion of those who attend OTC adult education classes and receive a diploma as a result of passing all five GED exams. 

For more information about the GED or adult education program, call (912) 287-6580.

Ware County Residents

Photo:
Eighteen Ware County residents participated in the Fall 2012 OTC Adult Education Graduation at Waycross Middle School. Mrs. Cathy Daniels (bottom right), Ware County program instructor, was on hand to congratulate graduates:  

Top row (L-R):  Carole Leona Cowart, Austin Hiett Green, Caleb Daniel Barnard, Jerry Jerome Lee, Jr.

2nd row from top (L-R):  Hao Hguyen, Jasmine M. McClain, Candace Burrier, Chantel L. Deal

3rd row from top (L-R):  D’Atra Edwards, Brandy Nicole Hickox, Nicole Lynn Stanley, Rita F. Rollins, Tyler Durham

Front row (Honor Graduates):  Jacob Andrew Rhoden, salutatorian; Caitlin Miranda Hayes;  Julia Darlene Thompson;  Andrea Gail Mahovetz, valedictorian;  Elaina Crews;  and Catherine M. Daniels, Instructor (Ware County)

Judge DeVane

Photo:
The Honorable Judge Michael D. DeVane (center) was the guest speaker for the October 2012 OTC adult education graduation. Dr. Glenn Deibert (left), OTC president, and Dr. Steve Pearce, executive director for adult education, greeted Judge DeVane prior to the ceremony.

Andrea Gail Mahovetz

Photo:
Andrea Gail Mahovetz (2nd from left) of Ware County is the valedictorian of the OTC Adult Education Class of Fall 2012. The class consists of GED graduates from six counties: Bacon, Brantley, Charlton, Clinch, Pierce, and Ware. Guest speaker Judge Michael D. DeVane (left), Executive Director Dr. Steve Pearce, and OTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert (right) congratulated Ms. Mahovetz.

Graduation Day

Photo:
Hao Nguyen (right) is congratulated by her instructor, Cathy Daniels, for earning a GED, the first step toward meeting her career goal. Ms. Nguyen was selected as the 2012 EAGLE winner among nominees from the Ware County adult education program. She was then nominated by Daniels for the college wide 2012 EAGLE award. The EAGLE program recognizes and rewards excellence among students enrolled in adult education programs. According to Daniels, Nguyen knew very little English only three short years ago, and now she has earned a GED and is studying to be a certified nursing assistant.  Afterwards, Ms. Nguyen, who is originally from Vietnam, plans to earn a nursing degree.

Adult Education Instructors

Photo:
OTC adult education full-time instructors (L to R):  Darrell Casey (Charlton), Gloria Reid (Pierce), Beth Strickland (Bacon), Eugenia Evans (ESL), Sheryl Trammell (Brantley), Cathy Daniels (Ware), and Patia Tolle (Clinch).


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