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OTC Graduates Celebrate Accomplishments at January 2014 Commencement




Over ninety graduates marched across the stage at the Okefenokee Technical College (OTC) 2014 spring commencement held Friday, January 30, 2014, at the Waycross Middle School auditorium. The ceremony honored those individuals who completed graduation requirements in summer or fall semester 2013. One hundred seventy-one credentials were awarded to students meeting the required coursework and criteria during the two terms. Despite the fact that all graduates were not able to participate, the occasion drew a very large number of family and friends.

Dr. Keith Johnson, chief anesthesiologist and medical director for Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross, gave the keynote address. The ceremony began at 7 p.m. with the processional of graduates, followed by the invocation and presentation of colors. Dr. Abraham Pallas, dean for academic affairs, allied health, and general education, gave the invocation. The Ware County JROTC presented the colors for the Star-Spangled Banner, which was sung by Mr. Stephen McQuaig, Brantley County adult education teacher.

Danita Cannon, vice president for student affairs, recognized special guests and welcomed everyone to the ceremony. She then reminded graduates to acknowledge the support they received from family and friends along the way. After applauding family members, Cannon recognized OTC faculty and staff for their work and dedication to students and education. In her final remarks, she encouraged graduates to thank those who helped them get where they are and congratulated them for meeting their educational goal.

Following Cannon’s remarks, the audience enjoyed the talent of Mr. Stephen McQuaig once again, as he sang “Wind Beneath My Wings.”

OTC President, Dr. Glenn Deibert, introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Keith Johnson, who instantly connected with graduates and other members of the audience. Johnson’s energy and sincerity made the message entertaining, powerful, and effective. In addition to calling on the audience to assist with the message, Johnson engaged graduates by having them participate in the message. The motivational leave-behind was his insightful advice on how to be successful, regardless of adversity or circumstance. He intertwined the three-point message with personal and Biblical narratives that gave the presentation added interest and enduring significance. 

Following Dr. Johnson’s message, Dr. Deibert conferred upon graduates the applicable award of diploma and/or Associate of Applied Science degree. Then Dr. Deibert; Mr. Jim Nordone, interim vice president for academic affairs; and Mr. Phillip Cook, OTC board chair, congratulated and awarded diplomas and degrees to participating graduates.

The following students satisfactorily completed requirements for graduation summer semester 2013 or fall semester 2013 and participated in the January 30, 2014, commencement:

Appling County
Robert Fritz, Welding and Joining Technology; Kimberly Powers, AAS Clinical Laboratory Technology; Henrietta Ryals, Medical Assisting; and Chanea Wooten, Welding and Joining Technology

Atkinson County
Kimberly Lewis, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; and Linda Dawson, Practical Nursing

Bacon County
Lily Alexander, Surgical Technology; Lindsey Courson, Practical Nursing; Colin Sellers, Electronics Fundamentals; Jon Spell, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; Liza Thrift, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; and Michelle Waters, Surgical Technology

Brantley County
Tabatha Gainey, Early Childhood Care and Education; Shannon Herrin, Welding and Joining Technology; Jeffrey Lewis, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; Tori Thornton, Cosmetology; Liza Thrift, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; and Rosalyn Williams, Criminal Justice Technology

Charlton County
Ashley Capps, Practical Nursing; Richard Capps, Practical Nursing; Doris Crews, AAS Clinical Laboratory Technology; Shannon Knight, Practical Nursing; Timothey Lemley, Electronics Fundamentals; Megan Miller, Surgical Technology; and Payton Quinn, Medical Assisting

Clinch County
Brian Griffis, Practical Nursing; Ashley Hodges, Surgical Technology; Brooklyn McNair, Practical Nursing; Kayla Pittman, Practical Nursing; Brooklyn Welch, Practical Nursing; and Paige Wilson, Practical Nursing

Glynn County
LaKana Bolden, Practical Nursing

Pierce County
Kaylee Buckins, Practical Nursing; Kimberly Cornelius, Practical Nursing; Daun Davis, Practical Nursing; Brandi Denmark, Surgical Technology; Sheila Fullmore, Practical Nursing; Stephanie Hightower, Practical Nursing; Melissa Lake, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; Rachelle Perritt, Practical Nursing; Robert Smith, AAS Clinical Laboratory Technology; Priscilla Sykes, Cosmetology; Abby Thigpen, AAS Clinical Laboratory Technology; Olivia Williams, Business Administrative Technology; and Christopher Wilson, AAS Clinical Laboratory Technology

Ware County
Letitia Alexander, Environmental Horticulture; Valerie Anderson, AAS Criminal Justice Technology; Fredrick Bivens, Medical Assisting; Leonard Clark, Electronics Fundamentals; Carole Cowart, Practical Nursing; Darlene Daniel, Practical Nursing; Jamey Davis, Electronics Fundamentals; Kayla Dixon, Criminal Justice Technology; Kourtney Gibson, Practical Nursing; Jimmy Godfrey, Electronics Fundamentals; Casey Howard, Practical Nursing; Michele Howard, Medical Assisting; Carmen Johnson, Practical Nursing; Carrie Johnson, Welding and Joining Technology; Gordon Lee, Electronics Fundamentals and Electronics Technology; Takisha Maddox, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; Joshua Mahone, Medical Assisting; Anteria McGauley, Practical Nursing; Amanda McGriff, Cosmetology; Brenda Meeks, Megan Miller, Surgical Technology; Practical Nursing; Candra Murray, Practical Nursing; Michelle Peterson, Early Childhood Care and Education; Tina Pole, AAS Business Administrative Technology; Takeshia Roberts, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; Tracy Smart, Accounting; Heather Spradley, Practical Nursing; Kristin Sullivan, AAS Clinical Laboratory Technology; Haley Thigpen, Practical Nursing; Lavone Thomas, Practical Nursing; Debra Turner, Networking Specialist; Candi Warren, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; Clary White, Cosmetology; and Karissa Youmans, Practical Nursing

Wayne County
Pamela Duncan, Practical Nursing; Cathryn Mounts, Surgical Technology; and Tony Swails, Practical Nursing

Honor graduates, students who have a graduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.50 or higher, wore yellow cords to denote their accomplishment.  White stoles denote honor graduates with distinction. Honor graduates with distinction are graduates who have elected to join the National Technical Honor Society. To receive an invitation to join, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.75 and a work ethics grade of 2.0 or higher.

Danita Cannon presented honor pins to eligible graduates, signifying their outstanding accomplishment. Floral arrangements were provided by OTC’s environmental horticulture program instructor, Mark Deal. Neal Murphy served as Graduation Marshal.

Commencement Speaker
Phillip Cook (left), OTC board chair, welcomed fellow board member, Dr. Keith Johnson (2nd from right) to the January 2014 commencement and told Johnson how much he looked forward to his message. Dr. Johnson, chief anesthesiologist & medical director for Mayo Clinic Health System of Waycross, was the keynote speaker for the event. Johnson was thanked by Cook, as well as OTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert (2nd from left) and Mr. Tommy Nimmer (right), OTC Foundation board member.
Appling Graduates
Among those marching at the OTC 2014 Spring Commencement were the following Appling County graduates: Chanea Wooten (L to R), Henrietta Ryals, Kimberly Powers, and Robert Fritz.
Atkinson Graduates
Among those marching at the OTC 2014 Spring Commencement were the following Atkinson County graduates: Kimberly Lewis (left) and Linda Dawson.
Bacon Graduates
Among those marching at the OTC 2014 Spring Commencement were the following Bacon County graduates: Lily Alexander (Front, L to R), Michelle Waters, Liza Thrift, Colin Sellers (Back, L to R), Lindsey Courson, and Jon Spell.
Brantley Graduates
Among those marching at the OTC 2014 Spring Commencement were the following Brantley County graduates: Tori Thornton (Front Row, L to R), Rosalyn Williams, Liza Thrift, Shannon Herrin (Back, L to R), Tabatha Gainey, and Jeffrey Lewis.
Charlton Graduates
Among those marching at the OTC 2014 Spring Commencement were the following Charlton County graduates: Ashley Capps (Front Row, L to R), Payton Quinn, Megan Miller, Richard Capps (Back, L to R), Shannon Knight, Doris Crews, and Timothey Lemley.
Clinch Graduates
Among those marching at the OTC 2014 Spring Commencement were the following Clinch County graduates: Ashley Hodges (Front Row, L to R), Kayla Pittman, Brooklyn Welch, Paige Wilson (Back, L to R), Brooklyn McNair, and Brian Griffis.
Glynn Graduates
LaKana Bolden of Glynn County was among those marching at the OTC 2014 Spring Commencement. Ms. Bolden is a graduate of the Practical Nursing program.
Pierce Graduates
Among those marching at the OTC 2014 Spring Commencement were the following Pierce County graduates: Daun Davis (Front, L to R), Kaylee Buckins, Priscilla Sykes, Olivia Williams, Sheila Fullmore, Abby Thigpen, Brandi Denmark (2nd Row, L to R), Melissa Lake, Rachelle Perritt, Stephanie Hightower, Kimberly Cornelius, Robert Smith (Back, L to R) and Christopher Wilson.
Ware Graduates
Among those marching at the OTC 2014 Spring Commencement were the following Ware County graduates: Darlene Daniel (Front Row, L to R), Candra Murray, Heather Spradley, Gordon Lee, Michele Howard, Debra Turner, Carmen Johnson, Tracy Smart (2nd Row), Takisha Maddox, Carrie Johnson, Megan Miller, Amanda McGriff, Anteria McGauley, Brenda Meeks, Kayla Dixon (3rd Row), Takeshia Roberts, Letitia Alexander, Valerie Anderson, Joshua Mahone, Carole Cowart (4th Row), Haley Thigpen, Candi Warren, Lavone Thomas, Fredrick Bivens, Clary White, Kristin Sullivan (5th Row), Casey Howard, Leonard Clark, Michelle Peterson, Tina Pole, Jamey Davis (Back Row, L to R), Karissa Youmans, Kourtney Gibson, and Jimmy Godrey.
Wayne Graduates
Congratulations to the following Wayne County Okefenokee Technical College graduates: Pamela Duncan (L to R), Tony Swails, and Cathryn Mounts, who were among those marching at the OTC 2014 Spring Commencement.




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