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SGTC’s Ashley Rodgers named 2016 State GOAL winner

ATLANTA — “The BEST of the BEST,” was the way Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Commissioner Gretchen Corbin described South Georgia Technical College’s Ashley Rodgers when she announced her as the state winner of the 2016 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) program at the TCSG GOAL and Rick Perkins Instructor of Year awards banquet in Atlanta in front of over 200 top students, instructors, state and local board members, and technical college officials.
Ashley Rodgers, a marketing management student from Oglethorpe, was selected as the 2016 South Georgia Technical College GOAL representative to compete against the most outstanding technical education students at each of the 22 TCSG colleges and the technical division of Bainbridge State College. She was selected as the top student from the 23 representatives in the finals who had competed against more than 135,000 students across the state to earn the opportunity to be “the best of the best.”
Commissioner Corbin presented Rodgers with the keys to a brand-new 2016 Kia Optima, courtesy of Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia and the Ed Voyles Kia of Chamblee dealership, in recognition of her new state title.
Anglea Hines Brown, an instructor in early childhood care and education at West Georgia Technical College was the winner of the 2016 Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Education Instruction. She received a $1,000 cash award. Andrea Ingram, a computer information systems Instructor, represented SGTC in the Rick Perkins competition.
SGTC’s Ashley Rodgers and Brown will spend the next year traveling the state as the newest ambassadors and voices of technical education. They will meet with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and visit the state capital and address the Georgia General Assembly among many other appearances.
“It gives me no greater pleasure than to present Ashley and Angela with these well-deserved recognitions for their remarkable achievement, not just in technical education but in their lives,” said Corbin. “Each has the respect and admiration of the entire Technical College System of Georgia, and we are proud to honor their strong commitment and inspiring passion for technical education — an outstanding triumph that symbolizes the core of our mission.”
SGTC President John Watford, Ed.D., echoed the Commissioner’s comments and added. “South Georgia Technical College is extremely proud of Ashley Rodgers. She is an exceptional student and will do an excellent job as a representative of the Technical College System of Georgia student body. She exemplifies how technical colleges can positively impact an individual’s life.”
Selection for the GOAL and Rick Perkins Award begins with the naming of the top technical education student and instructor at each college. Regional competitions follow and narrow the field to nine finalists for each award.
In April, the nine finalists are interviewed by a panel of judges. At each step, student finalists are scored on their academic accomplishments, leadership qualities, involvement in their local communities and future aspirations. Benchmarks for instructors include teaching experience, innovation in the classroom, leadership and civic involvement.
In 2016, the GOAL program celebrated its 45th year of outstanding student achievement, while the Rick Perkins Award program showcased 26 years of excellence in technical instruction.
Rodgers was the third state GOAL winner for SGTC. Johnny Dodson, an industrial maintenance student, won the competition in 1996 and Royce A. Martin, an aircraft maintenance Instructor, represented SGTC  as the state GOAL winner in 1981.
Rodgers shared her story with the individuals at the TCSG Awards banquet and described how technical education had changed her life for the better.
“I had to overcome many personal obstacles to get to where I am today,” said Rodgers. “I never knew what an impact technical education would have on my life. Life had knocked me down, but technical education helped me find my grasp on life again.
“During my time at South Georgia Technical College I found that I could stand on my own two feet again. I began finding joy through my accomplishments. South Georgia Technical College and my instructors motivated me to achieve. The strong, independent young woman that was inside of me would have never been found, if I had not opened the door to a technical college.
“At South Georgia Tech, I was encouraged to join organizations such as SkillsUSA, the Student Government Association, Collegiate DECA and the National Technical Honor Society that showcased my leadership abilities. My program pushed me to be nothing less than great and as I approach graduation, I feel prepared for the marketing work force.”
Rodgers also expressed her thanks to her Marketing Management Instructor Mary Cross for nominating her for this honor and said, “My future is bright and successful. That is due largely to God and to technical education. If you had told me two years ago that I would be considered a Student of Excellence, a local president for three organizations, or a state president of a national organization and now the state GOAL winner, I would not have believed it.
“I have discovered pure joy and I would not have come this far without the support and opportunities found within the Technical College System of Georgia,” said Rodgers.