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Two students awarded Smarr-Smith scholarships at SGTC

From Staff Reports

AMERICUS — Two Smarr-Smith scholarships were awarded at the South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) Law Enforcement Academy Class 18 – 02 graduation ceremony held in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center on the SGTC Americus campus recently.
Cora K. Baker of the Terrell County Sheriff’s Office, and Dalton Lee Windham of the Montezuma Police Department, were both awarded Smarr-Smith Criminal Justice Scholarships to continue their education.

Paul and Sharron Smith Johnson are shown presenting Dalton Windham, at left, of the Montezuma Police Department, with a Smarr-Smith Criminal Justice Scholarship.

The Smarr-Smith endowed scholarships at SGTC were created in memory of fallen Americus Police Officer Nicholas R. Smarr and Georgia Southwestern State University Campus Safety Officer Jody C. Smith. The endowments were created by the Smarr-Smith Foundation, private individuals, and an anonymous donor. Sharron Smith Johnson, mother of fallen officer Jody Smith, and her husband Paul were on hand at the ceremony to help award the two scholarships. Both Nicholas Smarr and Jody Smith attended the criminal justice program at SGTC.
Baker and Windham graduated from the SGTC Law Enforcement Academy and made the decision to return to school and secure their associate of applied science degrees in criminal justice from their alma mater.
“Every day that I put on my uniform I am proud to protect and serve the people of the community in which I am employed. This is my calling, and I plan on continuing my education because every day is an adventure and I am always eager to face it,” said Baker. She graduated from the Law Enforcement Academy in December 2017. “It is such a great honor to receive the Smarr-Smith Scholarship, and I would like to thank the individuals who helped make this scholarship possible and extend my condolences to the families who lost their loved ones.
“In January of 2018, I decided to go back to South Georgia Technical College to obtain my associate’s degree in criminal justice. Since I only needed three classes to graduate, I thought it would be a simple process,” laughed Baker. However, life got in the way and Baker almost gave up that dream. This scholarship, along with the encouragement from the SGTC faculty and staff, have kept her going.
Dalton Lee Windham graduated from the SGTC Law Enforcement Academy in May 2018, and served as the Class Representative for the 18-01 class. He recently earned his associate’s degree from SGTC and plans to continue at Troy State University. “After earning my associate’s degree, it pushed me to want to finish all the way. Nick and Jody were both great law enforcement officers. I was saddened at the loss of both of them. There are true examples of brothers for life and true American heroes. They had each other’s backs all the way to the end and never gave up on one another. I look up to both of them, and am inspired by the officers they were. I am honored to be chosen for this scholarship,” said Windham.
SGTC President John Watford, Ed.D., thanked the family for attending the graduation and scholarship award ceremony. “We all regret that this scholarship opportunity had to come at the expense of the lives of two outstanding South Georgia Technical College students and law enforcement officers,” he said. “Our hearts will continue to go out to the family and friends of Officers Smarr and Smith. But it is our prayer that this gift will assist other POST-certified officers who wish to continue their education. We hope that the fine men and women who earn these scholarships will honor the memories of Officers Smith and Smarr through their service to our citizens and that the memory of Nick Smarr and Jody Smith will continue to live on through the lives of these scholarship recipients.”
Smarr and Smith both attended the SGTC criminal justice program. Smarr attained his associate of applied science degree in June 2011, and became a certified law enforcement officer in 2012. Smith had attended South Georgia Tech in 2010, and had returned in 2016, to begin completing his criminal justice associate degree.
Seven Smarr-Smith scholarships have been awarded since the scholarships were endowed. Charles Kinnamon and Adam O’Neal were the first two scholarship recipients. King W. Mitchell, Antoinette L. Johnson and Emerson R. Lundy were the second three recipients and now Dalton Lee Windham and Cora K. Baker are continuing their education as Smarr-Smith Scholars.
For more information about making a donation to the SGTC Foundation or endowing a scholarship at SGTC, contact Su Ann Bird, executive director of the SGTC Foundation and Vice President of Institutional Advancement at 229-931-2110 or sbird@southgatech.edu. Contributions may also be mailed to the SGTC Foundation, P.O. Box 6102, Americus GA. Additional donations can be added to the Smarr-Smith Scholarship fund and all donations will be recognized and shared with members of the Smith and Smarr