When former Georgia Piedmont student Junita Burr passed away in 2018, her opticianry program faculty resolved to make sure her memory lived on. Now, a scholarship has been set up in Junita’s honor and the first recipient proudly accepted the award on January 25. Opticianry student Lorena Zoi, who was also a nominee for GPTC’s student of the year, shared the spotlight with the Burr family, fellow students, and GPTC faculty and staff at the $200 scholarship presentation. As a surprise for the Burrs, current opticianry students presented them with a special gift in honor of Junita – a crystal award with a hologram of their daughter.

Opticianry program director Dr. Chioma Michaelson said of the event and presentations, “we hope this brings the family some comfort and helps teach my students -and the school community- about communal responsibility.”

faculty and staff at the opticianry scholarship presentation
Left to right: students Erlw (correct spelling) Lemos, Fanny Taylor, program director Dr. Chioma Michaelson, Martha Burr, Johnny Burr, instructor Thomas Blair, former program director Lanard Atkins, AVP of Academics Dr. Ramona Pollard, Lorena Zoi, Gemma Odiase, instructor Kevin Atkinson.
Scholarship winner and Dr. Ramona Pollard
Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Ramona Pollard poses with scholarship recipient Lorena Zoi.
Junita Burr's mother
Junita Burr’s mother with the gift depicting her late daughter.

Georgia Piedmont Technical College is one of only three schools in the Technical College System of Georgia that offers the opticianry program and the only one in the Metro Atlanta area. Students may earn an associate degree, diploma, and/or technical certificates of credit. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, dispensing opticians in Georgia earn an average of more than $42,000 annually.