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Area Graduates are Recognized at OTC Adult Education Graduation




The Okefenokee Technical College (OTC) May 9, 2013, adult education graduation ceremony was held Thursday evening at 7 p.m. at the Waycross Middle School Auditorium.

Those who participated in the commencement are graduates of the OTC adult education program who successfully passed the last of five required General Educational Development (GED) exams and chose to be formally recognized for their accomplishments. Graduates included residents from all six counties served by Okefenokee Technical College’s adult education program.

The ceremony began with the processional and a welcome by Dr. Steve Pearce, executive director of adult education, followed by the invocation. Pierce County graduate Kayla Marie Brigmond gave the invocation.

The Colors were presented by the Ware County High School JROTC Color Guard: Zanita Lloyd (Lead Marshall), Shayne McCaskill, Shane Carter, Wayne Waldron, and Jay Carter. Mr. Darrell Casey, Charlton County adult education instructor, led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Immediately following, Jason Weathersby sang The National Anthem.

Nicole Trammell performed a special song selected specifically in celebration of the graduates.

Dr. Pearce introduced the keynote speaker, ReKasa Deen, Clinch County City Manager. Ms. Deen is a graduate of Valdosta State University, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Speech Communication. Deen began her career as a Business Development and Expansion Coordinator with the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. She held several positions in the organization before accepting the title of Business Development Director.

Deen was appointed City Manager for the City of Homerville in January 2012. She is the recipient of Valdosta State University’s 2012 Graduate of the Last Decade award. She plays an active role in the Clinch Cultural Arts Association, serves as Chairperson of Clinch County Family Connection, and is an active member of the Okefenokee Technical College Adult Education Advisory Committee.  She is also a 2012 graduate of the Georgia Academy of Economic Development.

Ms. Deen congratulated the 2013 graduates and encouraged them to continue their education. Salutatorian Lauren D. Smith of Brantley County and Valedictorian Ashia Na Chai Manning of Ware County both made speeches of inspiration, encouragement, and victory to their peers and other attendees.  They expressed appreciation to those who provided encouragement and assistance.

On hand to congratulate graduates and participate in the evening celebration were the following Okefenokee Technical College officials and staff:  Dr. Glenn Deibert, president; Mr. Andy Brannen, vice president for economic development; Dr. Steve Pearce, executive director of adult education; and  the following adult education full-time instructors:  Darrell Casey (Charlton), Cathy Daniels (Ware), Gloria Reid (Pierce), Beth Strickland (Bacon), Patia Tolle (Clinch), and Sheryl Trammell (Brantley).

Graduates were presented to the audience by their instructor. Dr. Deibert, assisted by Mr. Brannen and Dr. Pearce, presented diplomas to the following Ware County residents:
Hattie Mae Bell, Brittany Renee Carver, Zara Brooke Cooper (honor graduate), Whitney Victoria Counts (honor graduate), Lonnie Benjamin Dryden, Karen Elizabeth Fox Hartley, Christopher Aaron Hodge, Kayla Elaine Johns, John Wesley Joiner (honor graduate), Ashia Na Chai Manning (valedictorian), Bethany Annette Nelson, Justin Lee Prater, Jacob Ezra Strickland (honor graduate), Kimberly Michelle Thomas (honor graduate), Raheem Wilkins, and Jesse Lee Williams II.

When all graduates had been named and had their award in hand, Dr. Glenn Deibert lead them in “The Moving of the Tassel,” which commemorates the official act of a candidate for graduation becoming an actual graduate. 

The auditorium was filled with family, friends, and supporters of the graduates who joined Dr. Deibert in congratulatory celebrations.

The benediction was given by Holly Abigail Lloyd, Charlton County graduate. Ushers were Hazel Coffee, administrative services assistant for adult education, Carol Sciscilo, Brantley County adult education adjunct instructor; and Carrie Trammell. The pianist was Travis Trammell. 

OTC holds an adult education commencement twice each year, spring and fall.  Students who participate in graduation ceremonies represent a portion of those who attend OTC adult education classes and receive a diploma as a result of passing all five GED exams. 

For more information about the Ware County GED or adult education program, e-mail Mrs. Cathy Daniels at or call (912) 287-6580.

Ware County Graduates
Sixteen Ware County residents participated in the May 9, 2013, OTC adult education graduation ceremony at Waycross Middle School. Mrs. Cathy Daniels (front), Ware County program instructor was on hand to congratulate graduates (Back Row, L to R): Justin Prater, Raheem Wilkins, Jesse Lee Williams II, Jacob Ezra Strickland (honor graduate), and Lonnie Benjamin Dryden; (2nd Row) John Wesley Joiner (honor graduate), Christopher Aaron Hodge, Zara Brooke Cooper (honor graduate), Karen Elizabeth Fox Hartley, and Whitney Victoria Counts (honor graduate); (1st Row) Bethany Annette Nelson, Ashia NaChai Manning (Valedictorian), and Hattie Mae Bell. Not available for photo: Brittany Renee Carver, Kayla Elaine Johns, and Kimberly Michelle Thomas.
Guest Speaker
ReKasa Deen (2nd from left), Clinch County City Manager, was the guest speaker at graduation. Deen was greeted at the event by OTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert (left) and OTC officials Andy Brannen (right), vice president for economic development, and Dr. Steve Pearce, executive director of adult education. Ms. Deen serves on the Okefenokee Technical College Adult Education Advisory Board and is a 2012 graduate of the Georgia Academy of Economic Development.

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