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Okefenokee Tech Names Finalists for GOAL Award


Four Okefenokee Technical College students have been selected as the college’s finalists for the 2012 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL), according to Karen Boyle, coordinator for OTC’s GOAL program. All OTC GOAL nominees and finalists are commended for this honor, as the GOAL process requires participants to exhibit excellence in academics and leadership.

Finalist Kimberly Daniels of Ware County is enrolled in the practical nursing program and was nominated by her instructor, Mrs. Theresa Henry. Ms. Daniels is a Ware County High School graduate and has a bachelor’s degree from Valdosta State University in Exercise Physiology. After graduating from OTC, she plans to continue her education. Her long-term career goal is to become an RN and work in cardiology at a heart center or similar setting. She currently works at Bath and Body Works and is the recipient of an OTC Foundation Monroe Academic Scholarship, and most recently, a Satilla Regional Medical Hospital Auxiliary Presidents Scholarship. Kimberly has been named on the President’s List and the Academic Achievement List.

Finalist Deidre Durance of Bacon County is enrolled in the computer support/networking program and was nominated by her instructor, Eddie Murray. She is a graduate of Appling County Comprehensive High School.  Deidre and her husband, Stacey, have three children and are both enrolled in the computer information systems program on the Alma campus. They hope to eventually own a successful business in computer repair. Ms. Durance participates in the work study program as a library assistant. She is active in student activities and is a member of the National Technical Honor Society, an organization requiring a GPA of 3.75 or higher. The OTC Foundation has awarded Ms. Durance a Monroe Academic Scholarship and a Bagwell Family Foundation Scholarship.

Finalist Caleb Manac of Ware County is enrolled in the computer networking degree program on the Waycross campus and was nominated by his instructor, Mr. Derrell Harris. Manac is the 2011-2012 Phi Beta Lambda president, an OTC Ambassador, and has won several state and national Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) awards in computer technology. Through the OTC work study program, Manac assists the OTC IT staff with tech support duties. He also works at Baptist Village as a junior network administrator. In fall 2011 According to Caleb, his decision to enroll at OTC was largely due to “its reputation for providing an education that not only teaches ‘what to do,’ but also teaches ‘how to do it.’” Manac states, “It was an opportunity I could not pass up.” Caleb is the recipient of an OTC Foundation Monroe Academic Scholarship.

Finalist James Watson of Ware County is enrolled in the automotive technology program and was nominated by his instructor, Mr. Larry Carr. As a student ambassador, Watson is called upon to assist with college and community events by representing the student body and promoting OTC. He has been named on the President’s List and recently was a finalist in the 2011 Gunk Serious Solutions Challenge. As a finalist, Watson won a $3,500 scholarship and a trip to Las Vegas to complete in the Gunk Ultimate Challenge. Prior to the Gunk competition, the OTC Foundation awarded Watson the South Georgia Street Rods Scholarship. Watson attended Suffolk County Community College in New York State before moving to Waycross.

Finalists were chosen by a screening committee who reviewed nominations, heard nominees’ speeches, and conducted personal interviews. Students will take part in another round of interviews and evaluations at the Waycross-Ware County Chamber of Commerce, where a panel of representatives from local business and industry will consider the students’ academic achievement, personal character, leadership abilities and enthusiasm for technical education. The student judged most outstanding will be designated as the college’s GOAL winner and will be invited to participate in regional competition.

The OTC GOAL winner will be announced to the public and introduced to Waycross Exchange Club members March 1 at a regularly scheduled Exchange Club meeting. 

Karen Boyle, OTC President Dr. Gail Thaxton, and the OTC staff would like to thank the Waycross-Ware County Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring the selection process and the Waycross Exchange Club for hosting the GOAL Banquet.

The top two students in each region will go to Atlanta to compete for the state GOAL title.


Kimberly Daniels   Deidre Durance
Kimberly Daniels
Deidre Durance
Caleb Manac   James Watson
Caleb Manac
James Watson
The 2012 finalists for OTC’s Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) are Kimberly Daniels, Deidre Durance, Caleb Manac, and James Watson. 

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