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Catharine Simmons is Okefenokee Tech’s  2013 GOAL Winner

Catharine Simmons of Ware County was recently selected as the 2014 GOAL (Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership) winner for Okefenokee Technical College. OTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert announced Simmons as the winner at the March 13 Waycross Exchange Club meeting.

Simmons worked as an insurance agent before resigning in 2012 to care for her mother, who has Alzheimer’s. She chose OTC because it offers the program she wants, is close to her home, is SACSCOC accredited, has a beautiful campus, and has friendly, helpful faculty and staff. Simmons is a member of the Mayo Clinic Health System Alzheimer’s Support Group. She hopes to work in the Waycross area as a respiratory therapist upon graduation.

GOAL is a statewide program of the Technical College System of Georgia that honors excellence in academics and leadership among the state’s technical college students. It is the highest student honor for the system. GOAL winners are selected at each of the state’s technical colleges, as well as the four Board of Regents colleges with technical education divisions.

To be nominated by an instructor, a student must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA, maintain a satisfactory mark in work ethics and exhibit qualities of leadership in the classroom and community. 

Finalists were chosen by a screening committee who reviewed nominations and conducted personal interviews. The four finalists, including Simmons, then took part in another round of interviews and evaluations at the Waycross-Ware County Chamber of Commerce, where a panel of representatives from local business and industry considered the students’ academic achievement, personal character, leadership abilities and enthusiasm for technical education.

Simmons was selected by this panel to participate in the regional competition, which took place March 10. GOAL winners from all Georgia technical colleges will go to Atlanta in April to compete for the state GOAL title.

Simmons shared the events of her life that led to her enrollment at Okefenokee Technical College. She talked about the financial struggles that sometimes “flavor the journey” of life, adding, “You cannot measure the quality of your life by the size of your pocketbook.” A job is not just a job, but a chance to give back,” stated Simmons, referring to her career in the healthcare field.

Quoting Teddy Roosevelt, Simmons said, “The greatest prize life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

Karen Boyle, coordinator for OTC’s GOAL program, congratulated Catharine on her accomplishment and added, “Catharine is a perfect choice for this honor. We are very proud of her. All OTC GOAL nominees and finalists are commended for excelling in their programs. The GOAL process, by its very nature, requires participants to exhibit excellence in academics and leadership. It’s an honor to be nominated and included in the process.”

OTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert was introduced to club members by Danita Cannon, vice president for student affairs. Cannon thanked the Exchange Club for supporting the GOAL program before calling Dr. Deibert to the lecturn.

Deibert explained that OTC has participated in the GOAL program for 41 years. He noted that this will be the last year a GOAL winner will be called “OTC GOAL winner, as OTC will merge with Altamaha Technical College and be called Coastal Pines Technical College July 1, 2014.

OTC officials extend congratulations to Mrs. Simmons and thank the selection committee for their time and input, the Waycross Exchange Club for hosting the GOAL Banquet, and Eva Byrd and the Waycross-Ware County Chamber of Commerce for coordinating the selection process.

The Waycross-Ware County Chamber of Commerce 2013 GOAL Selection Committee consisted of the following community volunteers: Buck Thigpen, Georgia Department of labor; Tony Greene, Belk of Waycross; and Robin O’Mara, Qantum Communications.

The title of state GOAL winner earns the student the responsibility of traveling Georgia as the ambassador for the entire technical college system. To make that travel easier, the statewide winner receives a new car. Congratulations to Catharine Simmons.

Goal Winner Announced at Exchange Club

Photo:
Waycross Exchange Club president Daniel Warren (left), OTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert, (right), and Instructor Faye Mathis (second from left) congratulate Catharine Simmons of Ware County, winner of the Okefenokee Technical College 2014 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL). OTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert announced Simmons as the winner at the March 13 Waycross Exchange Club meeting. Mrs. Simmons, an OTC respiratory technology student, was nominated by her instructor, Ms. Faye Mathis.

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