Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) announced its 28 student nominees and four finalists for the 2020 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) Dec. 16. The College will narrow the field Jan. 23 when it reveals the school’s one student who will represent GPTC as the GOAL Student of the Year.

Georgia Piedmont Tech’s top four finalists are Early Childhood Care and Education program student Erik Brown, Clinical Laboratory Technology program student Heather Edmisten, Paralegal Studies program student Mandy Higginbotham and Marketing Management program student Bawala “Rocky” Wechsler.

On Jan. 23 GPTC will also name its 2020 Rick Perkins Award winner, an honor given to the College’s selection as its instructor of the year. This year’s two finalists are Air Conditioning Technology program instructor Samuel Mitchell and Adult Education (GED) program instructor Chasidy Parks. Additional nominees were Adult Education faculty members Vicki Douglas and Memie Harper.

All 22 of Georgia’s technical colleges statewide present these two awards annually. Local winners, selected through a series of interviews and speeches, serve as ambassadors to their communities on behalf of their colleges. GPTC’s winners will represent the College in its three-county service area of DeKalb, Newton and Rockdale.

The objective of the GOAL program is to recognize and reward excellence among more than 135,000 students studying within the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). GOAL was the first statewide program in the nation to honor outstanding technical education students. The Rick Perkins Award is presented to the faculty member who has shown the most dedication to the job, commitment to students and skill in the classroom.

GPTC’s announcements will be made at a luncheon scheduled for Jan. 23 at noon in the DeKalb Campus Conference Center in Clarkston. Winners will receive scholarships from the Georgia Piedmont Tech Foundation to assist with expenses for the regional and state competitions.

GPTC’s GOAL and Rick Perkins Award winners will compete at the TCSG North Region competition on March 4 at Lanier Technical College in Oakwood. College winners representing Athens Tech, Atlanta Tech, Chattahoochee Tech, Georgia Northwestern Tech, Georgia Piedmont Tech, Gwinnett Tech, Lanier Tech, and North Georgia Tech will vie for three available state finalist positions from within the region for each award.

Statewide winners will be selected at the state GOAL and Rick Perkins Award competitions in Atlanta in April and will travel the state for a full year on behalf of Georgia’s technical college system. The grand prize for the state GOAL winner also includes a brand new car, courtesy of Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, the statewide corporate sponsor of the GOAL program.

GPTC’s 2018 GOAL Student of the Year, Crystal Wright, took home the honor of being the statewide GOAL winner and drove away in her own new Kia two years ago. Wright was the third statewide GOAL winner in GPTC’s 59-year history and its second in three years. GPTC’s Stephanie Jackson won the statewide GOAL award in 2015.

The College’s 2019 GOAL winner Tina-Kay Rhoden and Rick Perkins Award winner Kelli Owen both garnered state finalist status, earning positions within a group of the top nine students and faculty members in Georgia’s technical college system last year.

Additional nominees for GPTC’s GOAL 2020 honor were Clinical Laboratory Technician program student Kelly Tran, Computer Information Systems Programming program students Tigist Amare and Alex Muzu, Criminal Justice program student Natalie Salgado-Juarez, Database Specialist program students Simon Bedasso, Tsigehana Kitaw, Rachel Engida, Yared Mamo, Tri Dung Huynh, Haneen Alabdali, Mikiyas Kidane, Fisaha Berhe, Yisehke Bambore, Ashenafi Delle and Zerfinsh Nune, Design and Media Production program student Tamia Harvey, Electrical & Computer Engineering program student Akpobari Mark, Nurse Aide program students Fnu Lima, Sherry Willis and Dorothy Wilson, and Paralegal Studies program students Lacey Anderson, Earl Miller, Daniel Phillips and Patrez Thomas.


MEDIA CONTACT: Jana Wiggins, Executive Director of Marketing & Communications