(Rockdale County, May 21, 2018) On Saturday, May 19, 2018, Georgia Piedmont Technical College’s spring graduates walked across the stage, accepted their hard-earned credentials, and turned their tassels. Dr. Alvetta Thomas, president of Southern Crescent Technical College, served as the keynote speaker. She offered encouraging words to the nearly 400 students who received their GEDs, technical certificates of credit (TCC), diplomas or degrees.
“I salute the graduates—you all look great sitting out there. I thank the parents, relatives and friends for helping these men and women achieve their educational objectives,” Dr. Thomas said. “Without your emotional, spiritual and financial support, it may have been a much more difficult road for some of our graduates,” Dr. Thomas stated.
“The Book of Luke tells us to whom much is given, much is required. So make the world a better place, but never forget your alma mater. When you go out and make it big—and you will make it big—please include the Georgia Piedmont Technical College Foundation in your charitable giving,” she said. “The word commencement signifies a beginning, so consider this day to be the first day of the rest of your journey,” concluded Dr. Thomas.
Several of the college’s high achievers addressed the graduates and attendees as well.
Ms. Kye Haymore, paralegal instructor (Georgia Piedmont’s 2018 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year) and president of the American Association for Paralegal Education brought the welcome. “I invite all the graduates to join me in recognizing and thanking the parents, guardians, family members, and supporters who have, through their love and encouragement, helped you reach this day,” Haymore said.
Following Haymore’s remarks, the audience heard from Ms. LaTrevya Mitchell, Georgia Piedmont’s 2018 EAGLE winner. Now in its 25th year, EAGLE (Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education) is the first statewide program in the nation that recognizes excellence among students enrolled in adult education programs.
“In 2015, I enrolled in the Adult Ed program to get my GED®, but little did I know that I would go on to pursue the diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education,” Mitchell said. “Thanks to Georgia Piedmont, I am excited about my future, and I am determined that I will be a teacher,” she said. “Congratulations to the Georgia Piedmont graduating class of 2018! Let us leave this ceremony today ready to show the world that Georgia Piedmont graduates will stop at nothing to achieve greatness,” Mitchell told the audience.
Crystal Wright, the Technical College System of Georgia’s statewide GOAL winner, also addressed attendees. The GOAL program, now in its 47th year, recognizes the most outstanding technical education students at each of the 22 TCSG colleges and the technical division at Bainbridge State College. Wright was recognized as the top student from nearly 100,000 in the system. “Was technical education easy? This is a common misperception many people have,” Wright said. “I can tell you it is not easy, and I am here with a group that can stand up and say technical college is not easy,” she continued. “It was difficult, but rewarding, and we did it!” Wright exclaimed.
In keeping with the theme of giving back, Wright said, “Let us not be a class that has just built our resumes or stock portfolios. I challenge you to give back to those who have given so much to you,” she said. “Give back to Georgia Piedmont, so that tomorrow someone else will be standing on solid ground,” Wright implored.
Dr. Tavarez Holston, vice president of academic affairs at Lanier Technical College, conferred the credentials. “Candidates for GEDs, certificates, diplomas and associate degrees: I salute and commend you for outstanding achievements in your respective disciplines at Georgia Piedmont Technical College,” he said. “And now, upon recommendation of the faculty and the Georgia Piedmont Technical College Board of Directors—and by virtue of the authority vested in me by the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia—I do hereby confer upon you the respective credential, with all the honors, privileges, rights, and responsibilities thereunto appertaining,” he concluded.
The ceremony was held at Springfield Baptist Church in Conyers after being moved from an outdoor arena due to inclement weather.