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OTC Holds Commencement Exercises


Okefenokee Technical College’s Summer & Fall Quarter 2008 Commencement Exercises were held Friday, January 23, 2009, at the Waycross Middle School auditorium.

Mr. Curtis Brantley, Ware County native and Executive Director of the Children’s Initiative, was the keynote speaker. Brantley began his address by commending graduates for their hard work and challenging them to stay optimistic. He also asked graduates to be mindful of the fact that many people helped them get where they are tonight. “Through compromises and hard work,” Brantley continued, “you succeeded.” Curtis Brantley and Gail Thaxton

Brantley interspersed congratulatory remarks and tips for success with personal narratives and humor. He entertained graduates and their family and friends, concluding with, “I am convinced you will have an impact on the world; remember – the simple things make the most difference.” 

The ceremony began at 7 p.m. with the processional of graduates and the presentation of colors by the Ware County JROTC. The audience enjoyed a beautiful piano rendition of the National Anthem played by Ms. Sondra Chapman. The invocation was then given by Andy Brannen, VP for Economic Development.

Danita Cannon, VP for Student Affairs, welcomed guests to the ceremony and introduced Ms. Cathy Daniels, OTC’s 2008 Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction recipient. Mrs. Daniels, an OTC adult education instructor for Ware County since 1995, explained to graduates the significance of this day for them and their families. “Many people hit challenges and give up,” she explained, “but you kept going.” She urged them to persevere through other challenges and to continue their education and training.

Following Daniels’ remarks, the audience was treated to the beautiful voice of Eryn Carter, OTC Career Transition Specialist, who sang “Please Remember.”

OTC President Gail Thaxton then introduced special guest Ola Smith, OTC Board Chair and CEO of the McKinney Community Health Center. Dr. Thaxton thanked Smith for being a strong advocate for the college and for serving as Chair of the State Director’s Association. Thaxton also recognized OTC faculty and staff for their work and dedication to students and education. “Graduates,” Thaxton stated, “you were taught by the finest faculty to be found anywhere. This faculty thinks of you as more than students, and they purposely invested in your success.”Graduates

Thaxton’s introduction of Mr. Brantley included his accomplishments and services to the community. Brantley currently serves as the Executive Director of the Children’s Initiative – an umbrella collaborative that brings public, private, faith groups, and consumers together to work for the betterment of our children in education, health care services and family support networks.

Thaxton listed the many organizations that Brantley has supported through board chairmanship or service or other means and noted that “from this list, you can tell where his interests lie – with work that promotes education, the welfare of citizens, and improved living conditions for us all. And when you think of major projects in Ware County- the new State Public Health Lab, expansion of the Ware  County Health Department, the building of the Ware County Health Department Building, improvements in the airport, and local tax legislation to benefit education – you can be certain,” continued Thaxton, “Mr. Brantley was involved, working for us all.”

Following Brantley’s speech, Thaxton conferred the diplomas and Associate of Applied Science degrees upon graduates. Afterwards, Thaxton; Dr. Steve Pearce, VP for Academic Affairs; and Smith awarded diplomas and degrees to the following graduates:

Appling County: Sandra Black, AAS Clinical Laboratory Technology; Samantha Carter, Practical Nursing; and Kevin Weaver, Drafting Technology;

Bacon County: Aimee Batton, Practical Nursing; Kyle Boatright, Air Conditioning Technology; Latwandra Brinson, Cosmetology; Alicia Mullis, Practical Nursing; April Michelle Rigby, Medical Assisting; Keaton Roppe, Welding and Joining Technology; Logan Williams, Cosmetology; and Bradley Williamson, Computer Information Systems;

Brantley County: Rehannion Dickerson, AAS Administrative Office Technology; Julie Flowers, Surgical Technology; Roxanne Griffin, Cosmetology; Anne Haas,  Business Office Technology; Leah Johns, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; and Cierra White, AAS Clinical Laboratory Technology;

Charlton County: Heather Allen, Cosmetology; Diane Conner, Practical Nursing; Teresa Hogan, Cosmetology; Anissa McInvale, Practical Nursing; Earl Shipley, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; and Britney Wilson, Practical Nursing;

Clinch County: Wendy Henderson, Cosmetology; Cynthia Moton, Medical Assisting; and Lisa Roberts, Practical Nursing;

Coffee County: Adrean Flanders, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; Lacanisa Fryer, Surgical Technology; Ginger Smith, Practical Nursing; and Stephanie Taylor, Practical Nursing;

Dougherty County: Benjamin Akumengalame, Surgical Technology;

Jeff Davis County: Katie Carver, AAS Clinical Laboratory Technology;

Pierce County: Brenda Boatright, Accounting; Kaili Dorsett, Practical Nursing; Pennie Hayes, Cosmetology; Leslie Herrin, Medical Assisting; Sara Jewell, Cosmetology; Tanya Johnson, Medical Assisting; Sandra McKelvin, Practical Nursing; Brandy Moody, Cosmetology; Erin Nose, Surgical Technology; Michelle Riggins-Power, Medical Assisting; and Anitra Young, Practical Nursing; 

Ware County: Rachel Baldwin, Cosmetology; Alissa Beverly, Practical Nursing; Pam Brockway, Practical Nursing; Shayla Coachman, Surgical Technology; Shakila Coffie, Early Childhood Care and Education; Emma Collins, Cosmetology; Brandi Davis, Medical Assisting; Lucretia Davis, Cosmetology; Phillip Dickson, Accounting; Amber Doak, Cosmetology; Janna Drawdy, Medical Assisting; Lillian Fitzpatrick, Cosmetology; Samirriah Glasper, Electronics Technology; Alicia Hutchinson, Practical Nursing; Talithia Kitchen, Criminal Justice; Jennifer Lawrence, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; Christina Lewis, Practical Nursing; Ykisso Lewis, AAS Clinical Laboratory Technology; Myrtis Proctor, Medical Assisting; Diane Ratliff, Early Childhood Care and Education; Michelle Rigdon, Practical Nursing; Jessica Roberts, Medical Assisting; Lisa Roberts, Practical Nursing; Tiffany Rowell, AAS Technical Studies; Brandi Simmons, Cosmetology; Sasha Thornton, Cosmetology; Stacey Tillman, Medical Assisting; Dana Vickers, Practical Nursing; Johnni Musgrove, Practical Nursing; and Amanda Williams, AAS Respiratory Care Technology.   

Photo 1:

Curtis Brantley, Executive Director of the Children’s Initiative, was the featured speaker at OTC’s commencement exercises held at the Waycross Middle School auditorium recently.OTC President Gail Thaxton introduced Brantley and OTC Board Chair Ola Smith (not pictured) to graduates and guests.  

Photo 2:

Thirty Ware County residents received a diploma or degree at OTC’s recent Commencement Exercises. (Front to back - L to R):
Diane Ratliff, Early Childhood Care and Education; Phillip Dickson, Accounting; Shayla Coachman, Surgical Technology; Shakila Coffie, Early Childhood Care and Education; Samirriah Glasper, Electronics Technology; Brandi Simmons, Cosmetology; Lucretia Davis, Cosmetology; Tiffany Rowell, AAS Technical Studies; Amanda Williams, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; Ykisso Lewis, AAS Clinical Laboratory Technology; Emma Collins, Cosmetology; Lisa Roberts, Practical Nursing; Lillian Fitzpatrick, Cosmetology; Sasha Thornton, Cosmetology; Michelle Rigdon, Practical Nursing; Dana Vickers, Practical Nursing; Jennifer Lawrence, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; Stacey Tillman, Medical Assisting; Amber Doak, Cosmetology; Alissa Beverly, Practical Nursing; Pam Brockway, Practical Nursing;  Alicia Hutchinson, Practical Nursing;  Rachel Baldwin, Cosmetology; Myrtis Proctor, Medical Assisting; Johnni Musgrove, Practical Nursing; Christina Lewis, Practical Nursing; and Jessica Roberts, Medical Assisting.

Not pictured: Brandi Davis, Medical Assisting; Janna Drawdy, Medical Assisting; Talithia Kitchen, Criminal Justice.


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