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OTC Holiday Luncheon

OTC Holiday Luncheon: A Time to Recognize Accomplishments and Reminisce with Past & Present Colleagues

Okefenokee Technical College (OTC) past and present employees enjoyed the festive venue and cheerful atmosphere of the 2013 OTC Holiday Luncheon held at the Okefenokee Country Club December 12. The event recognized and celebrated OTC retirees, 2013 faculty and student accomplishments, and the recent SACSCOC visit.

Following the invocation given by K.C. Thornton, OTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert welcomed everyone and thanked faculty and staff collectively for their dedication and hard work. Dr. Deibert recapped some of the notable events, accomplishments, and success stories of 2013 and stated, “None of this could have been possible without the great enthusiasm and teamwork you all exhibited.”  He went on to say 2014 will hold even more exciting opportunities for the College and for our students.

Teresa Allen, OTC director of institutional effectiveness, spoke about the success OTC had over the past year regarding accreditation. Teresa shared that OTC hosted a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) institutional accreditation visiting team in October with preliminary results indicating an excellent review. In addition, the Respiratory Therapy and Clinical Laboratory Technology programs had successful reviews from their respective accrediting agencies.

Ms. Allen then directed the staff’s attention to the gift bags on the tables. All attending were given a bag as a token of appreciation for their work in the successes of the College. The white bags were tied with red ribbon and adorned with a beautiful silver Christmas ornament bearing the OTC logo. Inside was a tall tumbler that reads “Believe & Achieve,” as well as other items.

Danita Cannon, vice president for student affairs, and LeAnna Thornton, OTC Student Government Association (SGA) president and past Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) president, made presentations recognizing student and faculty accomplishments in 2013. Ms. Cannon’s slideshow highlighted community service activities of student organizations, including the Horticulture Club, SGA, and Ambassadors, then recapped SkillsUSA and PBL winners from the past year. Ms. Cannon also recognized the 2013 GOAL winner, Carli Johns; 2013 EAGLE winner, Dyarl Jackson; 2014 EAGLE winner, Nina Garcia; and 2013 Rick Perkins winner, Thomas Wesley.

Ms. Thornton’s presentation provided a unique assessment of the past year’s accomplishments – from the viewpoint of a student. She applauded her fellow classmates and club members who worked beyond the classroom and lab setting to compete in state and national conferences. In attention to recalling quotes from student winners expressing the benefits of competition, Ms. Thornton complimented various faculty and staff for their compassion and assistance in supporting students and events.

The following 2013 state and national winners were recognized:

PBL State Award Winners:
5th place in Retail Management, LeAnna Thornton
4th place in Justice Administration, Kayla Dixon
3rd place in Database Design and Application, Corey Felmey
3rd place in Help Desk, Corey Felmey
2nd place in Telecommunications, Simon Cason
1st place in Cyber Security, Simon Cason
1st place in Network Design (Team Event), Samuel Knight and Alejandro Tadeo

PBL National Award Winners:
10th place in Cyber Security, Simon Cason
10th place in Networking Concepts, Alejandro Tadeo
7th place in Telecommunications, Simon Cason
4th place in Network Design, Samuel Knight and Alejandro Tadeo

SkillsUSA State Award Winners:
3rd place in Welding Sculpture, Carrie Johnson
2nd place in Job Interview, Deidre Durance
2nd place in Internetworking, Alejandro Tadeo
1st place in Computer Maintenance Technology, Christopher Ellis
1st place in Residential Systems Installation, Stacey Durance

SkillsUSA National Award Winners:
14th place in Computer Maintenance Technology, Christopher Ellis
4th place in Residential Systems Installation, Stacey Durance

Dr. Faye Mathis, OTC respiratory care technology instructor, then introduced OTC retirees in attendance, recalling various characteristics, humorous events, and descriptions frequently associated with each one, “as Dr. Mathis remembered it.” The descriptions and remarks brought about lots of smiles and laughter.

Retirees honored (roasted) were Jerrell Basile Bednar, Willene Griffin Fox, Debra Giddens, Larry Godair, Michael Henderson, B. J. Henderson, Patricia S. Parker, Dr. Jewell Sweat, and Gloria G. Thomas.

The event ended with remarks from Cindy Tanner, OTC public relations director and OTC Foundation officer. Ms. Tanner thanked employees for the small and large actions in support of students that promote the college, the successful OTC Foundation internal campaigns, and the assistance provided with other fundraisers, such as golf tournaments and galas. She also recognized the work of former employees as elements of a cornerstone that prepared the college and staff for the work leading to the accomplishments of 2013.

Ms. Tanner thanked Danita Cannon and Margaret Fairley for coordinating the luncheon. “The only event more profound in attributing to job satisfaction,” stated Tanner, “is the occasional encounter around town when a former student calls you out to say thank you. So, for the work you do that leads to those moments and for the work you did toward SACSCOC accreditation, Dr. Deibert and the leadership team say, thank you for believing and achieving in 2013.”

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OTC retirees were introduced and remembered by Dr. Faye Mathis, OTC respiratory care technology instructor. Among the retirees were Debra Giddens (left) and Gloria Thomas (center). Ms. Giddens taught Business Office Technology, and Ms. Thomas was the public relations director.

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Danita Cannon, vice president for student affairs and Pam Farr, vice president for administrative services (standing), spend some time “catching up” with OTC retirees Mike and B.J. Henderson.

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Chad Boyett (right), OTC facilities director, welcomed Willene Griffin Fox, retired OTC nursing instructor, to the luncheon and “got updates” while waiting for the program to begin.

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Following the luncheon, a number of former OTC staff remained for a short presentation by Dr. Glenn Deibert, OTC president, on the upcoming Altamaha Technical College and Okefenokee Technical College merger.

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State and national student winners were recognized as part of the holiday luncheon program. Stacey Durance (second from right) of Alma won 4th place in Residential Systems Installation during the 2013 SkillsUSA National Conference held June 23-29 in Kansas City. His wife (to his right), also an OTC student, won 2nd in job interview at the state conference and was a 2012 national winner. Joining them at the table are Diane Spell (L to R), Shelia Rigdon, and Kate Bussey (far right) of the Alma campus.

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One of OTC’s newest employees, Kimberly Rodgers, who was recently employed to teach accounting, joins Summer Gowen (left) and Angie Crews (right) for a quick photo. Ms. Gowen is the Business Administrative Technology instructor at OTC, and Ms. Crews is the Administrative Operations Specialist.

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Ten OTC students were recognized during the 2013 OTC Holiday Luncheon for placing at state and/or national competition. Among those recognized were Kayla Dixon (L to R), PBL State Leadership Conference winner in Justice Administration, 4th place; LeAnna Thornton, PBL State Leadership Conference winner in Retail Management, 5th place; Samuel Knight, PBL National Leadership Conference winner in Network Design, 4th place; and Simon Cason, PBL National Leadership Conference winner in Telecommunications, 7th place, and in Cyber Security, 10th place. First through fifth place winners are celebrated at state conferences; first through tenth place winners are recognized at national conferences.

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Kelly Peacock (left), OTC assistant director for adult education, recently joined the OTC staff and is shown here with Gloria Reid (continuing counterclockwise), adult education; Thomas Wesley, electronics and OTC Instructor of the Year; Temple Ogundu, academic affairs; Jeffery Hill, facilities; and Hazel Coffee, adult education.

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The OTC Holiday Luncheon provided a time for OTC staff to mingle and get acquainted or reacquainted with colleagues.  Seated left to right: Shaylyn Johnson, public relations; Erica Chancey, public relations; Mary Johnson, administrative services; Cynthia Linder, HR; Cheryl Nelson, administrative services; Glenna Lastinger, administrative services; and Susan Bates, nursing.

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It was a rare treat to have almost everyone on staff altogether in the same location. Tis the season for smiles; Angie Crews (L to R), Chad Boyett, Cassie Clemons, and Jason Lefevre pose.

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