Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) recently announced its 18 student nominees and five semi-finalists for the 2021 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL). In a virtual announcement from President Tavarez Holston on March 17, the College will narrow the field when it reveals the school’s one student who will represent GPTC as the GOAL Student of the Year.

Georgia Piedmont Tech’s top five GOAL finalists are Marketing Management program student Angalique AsheWright, Clinical Laboratory Technology program student Addisu Gebreyesus, Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology program student Garrett Johnson, Computer Networking Specialist program student Lakeisha Waller and Design and Media Production program student Tonisha Willis.

On March 17 GPTC will also name its finalists and winner for the 2021 Rick Perkins Award, an honor given to the College’s selection as its instructor of the year. This year’s eight nominees are Claudette Alexander-Thomason from the School of Arts and Sciences; Denise Beckford and Jean Jones from the School of Health, Education and Professional Services; Robert Croom from the School of Industrial Technologies; Vicki Douglas, Lisa Hightower and Nicholas Michael from the Adult Education program; and Mitzi Williams from the School of Business, Computer Information Systems and New Media.

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 143,000 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. Winners will receive scholarships from the Georgia Piedmont Tech Foundation to assist with expenses for the regional and state competitions.

GPTC’s 2021 GOAL and Rick Perkins Award winners will compete virtually through the TCSG North Region competition on April 20. 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 virtual competitions in May and will represent Georgia’s technical college system for a full year. 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 three years ago. Wright was the third statewide GOAL winner in GPTC’s 60-year history and its second in three years. GPTC’s Stephanie Jackson won the statewide GOAL award in 2015.

Additional nominees for GPTC’s GOAL 2021 honor were Air Conditioning Technology program student Semere Girmehannes, Building Automation program student Tornubari Monkpe, Clinical Laboratory Technology program student Fitwi Tsegai, Cosmetology program student Chenal Jones, Criminal Justice program student Ashley Sinclair, Emergency Medical Services Professions program student Ebony O’Neal, Health Information Management Technology program student Susan Trumpet, Interdisciplinary Studies program student Christelle Tchato, Marketing Management program student Ashleigh Jackson, Medical Assisting program student Cynthia Casasola, Nurse Aide program student Kenya Brown, and Paralegal Studies program students Asha Cole and Haley Harrison.