Americus Rotary Club presents South Georgia Tech’s 2024 outstanding student with stipend

Published 3:52 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2024

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By Su Ann Bird


AMERICUS – Americus Rotary Club member and Past President Don Smith presented South Georgia Technical College Criminal Justice student Diquita Mathis of Pinehurst with a stipend recently on behalf of the Americus Rotary Club.  Mathis was recognized as the college’s 2024 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) winner by SGTC President Dr. John Watford at the college’s GOAL luncheon recently.

“It was my honor for 20 something years to work with the GOAL program at South Georgia Technical College,” said Don Smith, who retired from South Georgia Tech as the Assistant to the President. “I have a unique understanding of what this program means. This is an amazing opportunity and an amazing accomplishment.  We couldn’t be more proud of you. Prior to joining the staff at SGTC, I was a Corporate Human Resources Director.  So, I would like to encourage you if you were a GOAL nominee or finalist or winner, please include this on your resume.  Because I can tell you as a Human Resources Director, if I was going through 100 resumes, that application always went to the top of the pile,” said Smith.

“I will also tell you the Americus Rotary Club is 106 years old. We are the oldest civic organization in Sumter County and we celebrate some things.  We celebrate community service and giving of yourself in the community and most importantly, we celebrate leadership.  Everybody who is a leader, we are excited to be a part of you, to celebrate you. Now, it is my honor on behalf of the Americus Rotary Club to present Diquita Mathis with an honorarium to help with your expenses with GOAL.  Now go to Atlanta and Getum,” laughed Smith.

The Americus Rotary Club and the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce have been premier sponsors of the South Georgia Technical College Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) program for many years.  “We are appreciative of both organizations for their sponsorship of this event and for their support of our students,” said South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford.  “This Americus Rotary Club stipend is a wonderful way to honor our top student, but their support of young people and leadership development also means a great deal to the college and this community.”

Mathis was selected for this honor by a panel of local community leaders.  An internal committee interviewed all of the college nominees and narrowed the selection to five GOAL finalists. Mathis was selected to represent the Criminal Justice program and she was competing against finalists Joshua Bartlett of the Electrical Systems Technology; Damon Brown of Culinary Arts; Katlin Champion of Marketing Management, and Zackary Mincey of Welding.

Criminal Justice instructor Teresa McCook nominated Mathis for this honor.  Diquita Mathis will now represent South Georgia Technical College at regional and state competitions in an effort to be selected as the top student within the Technical College System of Georgia.