Altamaha Technical College nominates two of its own for state GED Achievement Awards
Sept. 25, 2012) – Altamaha Technical College nominated two of its own for state recognition for their outstanding achievement in the field of adult education.
One is a passionate lifelong advocate of adult education; the other is a GED graduate who is now a registered nurse and an Altamaha Technical College instructor. Both are inspiring examples of making your life a testimony to “paying it forward,” said Sandra Williams, Dean of Adult Education at Altamaha Technical College.
Bob Baker is Altamaha Technical College’s GED Chief Examiner for Brunswick, Camden and McIntosh counties, and a “champion for Adult Education and GED testing for more than 45 years,” said Williams, who nominated him for 2012 GED Examiner of the Year.
Dennis J. “DJ” Everett, R.N., is a Nursing and Healthcare Instructor at Altamaha Technical College’s Baxley Campus. Everett, who dropped out of high school his junior year so he could financially care for himself and his elderly grandparents, not only exemplifies success in the college’s GED program but his drive to exceed his current education to reach his goal of becoming a nurse practitioner earned him the nomination for 2012 GED Graduate Outstanding Achievement Award.
The GED Awards are presented by the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG)’s Office of Adult Education and will be awarded at the Fall Education Conference during the GED Testing Program Awards Luncheon, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, at the Renaissance Waverly Atlanta Hotel.
“We are excited for both Bob and DJ on their nominations. Both are outstanding examples of lives committed to higher education and exceeding expectations. We are proud to present both gentlemen to the state as our ‘best of the best’, and we wish them the best of luck in the state competition,” said Lorette M. Hoover, President of Altamaha Technical College.
A little more about the nominees
Bob Baker started his illustrious career in 1964 when he was awarded the Kellogg Foundation Grant in Adult Education. This two-year post-graduate award at the University of Chicago was one of very few grants awarded, said Williams.
In 1966, Baker began his first job at Highland Community College in Illinois as the Dean of Adult and Community Education. While there, he was appointed to serve on the State Superintendent’s Adult Education Task Force where he diligently worked to present and pass Adult Education legislation.
“Bob told me he almost lost his job several times fighting for adult education but he was able to accomplish his goal. He also said that this fight was probably one of the most rewarding accomplishments of his life,” shares Williams in her nomination of Baker. “For his efforts, he received a Certificate of Recognition from the Adult Education Association of the United State for his exemplary efforts in furthering the concept of education as a process continuing throughout life.”
Baker also served as the President of the State of Illinois Adult Education Committee and as the Chief Director of Evaluation for Adult Literacy that covered the K-12, community college and penal systems. He continued his career educating adult learners serving in several college dean positions and established an articulation agreement between Hastings Correctional Facility and Hastings Community College so inmates could obtain an associate’s degree while incarcerated. He retired in 1999.
However, after relocating to Brunswick to enjoy his retirement a classified job listing in the local newspaper for a GED Examiner sparked his lifelong passion for adult education. He embraced the opportunity to serve and empower students again – and he’s still receiving awards. In 2010, he received an Outstanding Service Award from the Brunswick Job Corps.
“Altamaha Technical College is proud to have Bob Baker as our Chief Examiner for the Coastal Counties,” said Williams. “He is one of our most dedicated employees and does as much work as three 25-year olds. He is a true champion for the GED student and will go the extra mile to ensure we offer the best customer service to our students as possible. Many times he works seven days per week and never complains. He is a joy to be around and always has a smile and kind word for everyone.”
DJ Everett was nominated by his co-worker and former adult education instructor, Sheila Hall of the Appling County Academic Support Center at Altamaha Technical College. Hall calls Everett a “tribute” to the College’s GED program.
“Entering our program at an age when young men tend to focus on frivolous pursuits, Dennis stood out among his peers as being very enthusiastic and goal-oriented,” said Hall.
Everett entered the GED program at Altamaha Technical College in 2005 after dropping out of high school during his 11th grade year to work full-time as a Certified Nursing Assistant. His motivation was not to stop earning his education but to provide economic stability to his grandparents.
“I was living with my elderly grandparents who could only meet my basic needs due to a fixed income,” explains Everett. “In 2005, I felt overwhelmed. I was juggling a job at a nursing home and going to high school. I remember the very day that I threw up my hands and wanted to quit. At this time in my life, I felt it was more important for me to work and earn money to support myself than to be in high school. In the weeks to come, I soon realized that I would not be able to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse practitioner without a high school diploma.”
Everett, although working two jobs at the time, entered the GED program at Altamaha Technical College in Baxley. While there, Hall encouraged him to complete his GED, which he did quickly, she recalls. He also completed his Practical Nursing degree at ATC, earning his diploma in June of 2009. He then entered the Registered Nursing program at South Georgia College and walked across the stage to receive his Associate of Science Degree in Nursing in 2011. He has worked for Appling Healthcare System as a CNA, an LPN and now an RN.
Today, Everett is a member of the faculty of the same college that encouraged and supported him through his educational trials and path – Altamaha Technical College.
“I am proud to serve as part of the Altamaha Technical College team as a Nursing and Healthcare Instructor,” said Everett. “It is my goal to encourage and support students the way Sheila Hall, Sheryl Nipper and Virginia Lea Rothwell supported me. Through all of this excitement, I have not lost sight of my goal to become a nurse practitioner. Someday, I will walk across yet another college stage and accept a Master’s of Science in Nursing. Until then, I will continue to serve patients and students in any way I can.