Over seventy-five graduates marched across the stage at the Okefenokee Technical College (OTC) 2012 winter commencement held Friday, January 20, 2012, at the Waycross Middle School auditorium. The ceremony celebrated graduates for the accomplishment of an important educational milestone.
Lisa Eason, assistant commissioner of administration for the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), gave the keynote address.
Eason told graduates that her first job was working as a textile mill worker in Tennessee for minimum wage. Not long after, she decided to get her GED in hopes of finding a better job. “Receiving my GED,” she said, “changed my life and inspired me to always challenge myself to find greater achievement in my education, my job and what I can do for my family.” After graduating with her BBA in accounting from the University of West Georgia, while still raising her family, Eason began her career with the Georgia Department of Audits in 1995 and joined TCSG in 1999.
“Don’t ever stop learning, don’t ever give up on yourself and never be afraid to take chances,” Eason said.
The ceremony began at 7 p.m. with the processional of graduates, followed by the invocation and presentation of colors. Dr. Steve Pearce, executive director of adult education, gave the invocation, and the Ware County JROTC presented the colors. Christy Markette captivated the audience with her lovely rendition of the National Anthem.
Tara Eichfeld, OTC registrar, welcomed guests to the ceremony. She encouraged graduates to recognize those who helped them get where they are and congratulated them for meeting their educational goal. “Tonight you leave here as OTC alumni,” she said.
The 2011 OTC Rick Perkins (Instructor of the Year) award winner, Eddie Murray, spoke to graduates, applauding them for their persistence and success.
Following Murray’s remarks, the audience enjoyed the talent of Ms. Markette once again, as she sang “Footprints in the Sand.”
OTC President, Dr. Gail Thaxton, recognized special guests and OTC faculty and staff for their work and dedication to students and education before introducing the keynote speaker, Mrs. Lisa Eason.
President Thaxton’s introduction included details regarding Eason’s work at TCSG. As Assistant Commissioner of Administration, Mrs. Eason provides expert assistance and guidance in all areas relating to the administration of fiscal affairs, human resources and information technology for Georgia’s 25 technical colleges, the Office of Adult Education, and Quick Start; the System’s workforce training program.
According to Dr. Thaxton, Lisa also works closely with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, the State Accounting Office, House and Senate budget offices, the Board of Regents, and other state agencies to ensure the administrative needs of the system are always being met.
Following Mrs. Eason’s message, Dr. Thaxton conferred upon graduates the applicable award of diploma and/or Associate of Applied Science degree. Then Dr. Thaxton; Danita Cannon, vice president for academic and student affairs; and Mr. John Pharr, OTC board chair, congratulated and awarded diplomas and degrees to participating graduates.
The following students satisfactorily completed requirements for graduation summer semester 2011 or fall semester 2011 and participated in the January 20 commencement:
Zylphia Hansley, Practical Nursing
Banita Sanders, Electronics Fundamentals
Judy Andrews, Medical Assisting; Deidre Durance, Networking Specialist; Stacey Durance, Networking Specialist; Renea Jarjusey, Practical Nursing; Ryan Medders, Respiratory Care Technology; Melvyn Sears, Cosmetology; Shannon Smith, Cosmetology; Jesse Stewart, Respiratory Care Technology; Aara Sweat, Cosmetology; Ashley Tincher, AAS Criminal Justice; and April Whitley, Surgical Technology
Amanda Bennett, Surgical Technology; Richard Best, Electronics Fundamentals; Miranda Dashnaw, Medical Assisting; Elizabeth Dowling, AAS Accounting; Peggy Drury, AAS Business Administrative Technology; Tracy Rhoden, Medical Assisting; and Tania Steedley, Early Childhood Care and Education
Moneke Daniels, AAS Clinical Laboratory Technology; Anna McDonald, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; Gloria Mishoe, AAS Early Childhood Care and Education; and Octavia Vernon, Practical Nursing
Leroy Burton, Marketing Management; Tia Martin, Practical Nursing; James Nipper, Automotive Technology; and Danny Shaw, Air Conditioning Technology
Kimberly Fanning, AAS Clinical Laboratory Technology; Joanna Merritt, Surgical Technology; and Ericka Peterson, Surgical Technology
Brandi Altman, Practical Nursing; Beverly Bagley, Business Administrative Technology; Melissa Durham, Practical Nursing; Meagan Gill, AAS Clinical Laboratory Technology; Richard Peavey, Surgical Technology; Sophia Presley, Criminal Justice; Megan Rock, Practical Nursing; Elizabeth Strickland, Medical Assisting; Valerie Walker, Practical Nursing; and David Walters, Electronics Technology
Shundria Bell, Practical Nursing
James Allen, Marketing Management; Tanya Bowen, Medical Assisting; Angela Brady, Practical Nursing; Luchristy Chestnut, Surgical Technology; Octavius Clark, AAS Technical Studies; Shalom Davis, Automotive Collision Repair; Jessica Dixon, Practical Nursing; Iesha Elam, Accounting; Courtney Falvo, AAS Computer Support Specialist; Christa Haralson, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; Oscar Johns, Air Conditioning Technology; Shumeka Jones, Medical Assisting; Chelsea King, Practical Nursing; Cleo Laughinghouse, Cosmetology; Nicole Maddox, Cosmetology; Brandi Morgan, Practical Nursing; Christopher Mudge, AAS Criminal Justice; Rachael Nolan, AAS Business Administrative Technology; Amanda O’Brien, Cosmetology; LaShon Pearman, Surgical Technology; Christina Proulx, Medical Assisting; Suzanne Sanchez, Practical Nursing; Holly Sivalia, Practical Nursing; Ashley Steedley, Practical Nursing; Kali Tanner, AAS Clinical Laboratory Technology; Jodi Tatum, Surgical Technology; Presley Thornton, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; Cindy Tuten, Practical Nursing; Lynn Wasdin, AAS Early Childhood Care and Education; Melvin White, Automotive Fundamentals; and America Williams, Surgical Technology
Stephanie Mitchell, AAS Respiratory Care Technology; Lisa Smith, Practical Nursing; and Autumn Thomas, Surgical Technology
April Joyner, OTC’s Student Government Association (SGA) president, 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.
Lisa Eason (left), assistant commissioner of administration for the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), was the featured speaker at OTC’s commencement exercises Friday, January 20, 2012. OTC President Dr. Gail Thaxton (right) welcomed Mrs. Eason.
Among those marching across stage at the OTC 2012 winter commencement were the following Ware County graduates: (Front to back - L to R) 1st Row: Jessica Dixon, James Allen, Courtney Falvo, LaShon Pearman, Christina Proulx, Chelsea King, 2nd Row: Nicole Maddox, America Williams, Brandi Morgan, Luchristy Chestnut, Shumeka Jones, 3rd Row: Shalom Davis, Suzanne Sanchez, Angela Brady, Oscar Johns, Holly Sivalia, 4th Row: Amanda O’Brien, Iesha Elam, Cindy Tuten, Lynn Wasdin, Ashlee Steedley, 5th Row: Rachael Nolan, Cleo Laughinghouse, Jodie Tatum, Presley Thornton, Tanya Bowen, 6th Row: Melvin White, Octavius Clark, Christopher Mudge, Christa Haralson, and Kali Tanner.