LaKeitha Ellison awarded SGTC Chief Vanessa Wall Criminal Justice Law Enforcement scholarship

Published 8:46 pm Friday, May 20, 2022

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From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – LaKeitha Ellison of Butler was awarded the Chief Vanessa Wall Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Scholarship by the South Georgia Technical College Foundation at the SGTC Law Enforcement Academy 22 – 01 graduation ceremony.

The endowed scholarship was established in honor of retired Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Vanessa Wall who began her career at South Georgia Technical College nearly 20 years ago as the initial Criminal Justice Instructor.  She grew that program into one of the largest enrollment programs on the Americus campus and helped expand the program to the Crisp County campus. She was also instrumental in establishing the college’s POST certified Law Enforcement Academy.  She retired from her many duties at SGTC in January 2022.

Lou Crouch of Bryon endowed the scholarship as a tribute to Wall and to help students who enrolled in the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy and Criminal Justice programs.  He has endowed four different scholarships in honor of or in memory of law enforcement officers and been responsible for providing 32 scholarships to SGTC students since January 2013.

Ellison quoted Winston Churchill as saying, “success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”  She added that while “I never define my obstacles as ‘failures,’ I mark my success by my repeated perseverance though adversity.

“I have faced several challenges over the years, from failing the Law Enforcement Academy in 2021 and having to reapply in 2022.  I knew I had to be successful because I had to be certified at my job.  I continued to stay focused on the GOAL before me. I drove back and forth from Butler to Americus five days a week.  It was very stressful and frustrating for me knowing that this was my final chance at the Academy.  I had to make sure I had plenty of gas to get me through the weeks and buying food everyday was getting expensive.  Making sure my son got to school on time and a decent meal when I got home.  All of this weighed on my mind while I was trying to successfully complete the Academy,” said Ellison.

She acknowledged that the academic and physical demands of completing the Academy were tough and that it has also been a financial strain on her family.  “I am so grateful for this scholarship opportunity.  I had to overcome many obstacles and hurdles to achieve my goals and this scholarship is a great help.  I am very thankful.”

South Georgia Technical College Foundation Executive Director and SGTC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Su Ann Bird thanked Lou Crouch for his support of the foundation and the Law Enforcement Academy.  “Lou Crouch has made it possible for many students to attend the SGTC Law Enforcement Academy and he will continue to touch the lives of future generations with his generous gift of an endowed scholarship in honor of Chief Vanessa Wall,” said Bird.  “Your investment in an endowed scholarship will continue to give back to students indefinitely.  Thank you again for recognizing the value of the educational opportunities SGTC provides to students”

For more information about donating to the SGTC Foundation or endowing a scholarship at South Georgia Technical College, contact Su Ann Bird, Executive Director of the SGTC Foundation and Vice President of Institutional Advancement at 229.931.2110 or  Contributions may also be mailed to the SGTC Foundation, P.O. Box 6102, Americus, GA.   Additional donations can be added to the Chief Vanessa Wall Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Scholarship fund and all donations will be recognized and shared with the Wall family.

The South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy program currently takes 18 weeks to complete and most recruits qualify for the HOPE Grant and other forms of financial aid. Admission standards require all students to undergo a thorough background check and adhere to all rules as set forth by the state POST Council. Students will also have to meet minimum scores in English, reading and math.

Beginning Fall Semester 2022, the SGTC Law Enforcement Academy will be condensed into an 11-week program.  Students will also receive college credit towards an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice.

For more information about the Law Enforcement Academy contact the Law Enforcement Academy office at 229.931.2716 or SGTC Law Enforcement Academy Director Brett Murray at 229.931.2756 or