McDonough resident, Michelle Reed, is looking forward to graduation later this summer, now that she has fulfilled a goal she made two years ago.
Reed, a medical assisting student at Southern Crescent Technical College in Griffin, was named local winner of the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) at a luncheon Tuesday. The GOAL Program is sponsored the Technical College System of Georgia, and recognizes scholastic excellence among technical college students.
In accepting the honor, the 45-year-old quoted, from memory, that she joined 23,137 other Georgians, who lost their jobs in February 2009. "In June 2011, I'm going to be in a new set of numbers," said Reed, who is doing her apprenticeship studies with Eagle's Landing Family Practice.
Reed —who lives in McDonough with her husband, John, and stepdaughter, Sarah — was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. She said she had been an account executive with Air Jamaica, where she put in 22 years of service.
However, when she lost her job with the airline, she said, she chose to pursue an education within the state's technical college system. "I chose medical assisting, because everything in my class ... is everything that I would find when I go out into the real world," she explained. "It's challenging, but it's always good to come out of your comfort zone."
Tuesday's luncheon, hosted Griffin Exchange Club, honored Reed and three other local finalists as ambassadors of Southern Crescent Tech, and student leaders among those in the state's technical college system, said Xenia Johns, Southern Crescent Tech's vice president for student affairs.
"The GOAL Program is one of our favorite programs," said Johns, who took part in the GOAL interview process. "These students represent the top 1 percent of over 5,700 students. They really are the best of the best."
Reed and the other finalists — Trevor Lutes, a business management student; Candice Taylor, a surgical technology student; and Hector Duron, a health-care science student — were chosen from 75 students, who were initially nominated in the GOAL Program, said Anna Taylor, director of marketing and public relations at Southern Crescent Tech.
Taylor said the students were judged, in part, based on interviews with local business, industry and government leaders. They were also judged based on their academic achievements and leadership skills.
Reed, having won the local GOAL competition, will proceed to regional preliminary judging, added Teri Kinard, Southern Crescent Tech's GOAL Coordinator. She will compete March 23, in Dublin, Ga., against finalists from nine other technical colleges in the Central Georgia region.
If successful at the regional level, Reed will be one of three finalists from the region to contend in Atlanta for the state's GOAL title, during GOAL Days, May 25-26. Kinard said GOAL Days is two days of interviews and public speaking, from which judges will determine who will represent the state as ambassador to its technical colleges.
The local GOAL awards recognition included comments from Southern Crescent Tech President Randall Peters, Griffin Exchange Club President Bill Jones, Jr., Griffin-Spalding Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Allen Edwards, and Carol Jones, of the Griffin Area Employer Committee.
"The purpose of the GOAL program is to spotlight the importance of technical education in today's world and to recognize outstanding achievement students in Georgia's technical colleges," said Peters. "Michelle [Reed] is a fine example of the excellent leadership of our student population, and I know she will go on to represent Southern Crescent Technical College well."
Reed was nominated Diana Kendrick, the program director for medical assisting at Southern Crescent Tech. "I am so very proud of Michelle," said Kendrick. "She is such an exceptional student. She is a wonderful ambassador for Southern Crescent Technical College, and promotes technical education to everyone she meets.
"Michelle goes above and beyond, to make every bit of knowledge her own, and she takes that knowledge, and she shares that knowledge," Kendrick continued. "She relates well to all students at the college, and will carry the spirit of the entire student body with her as she competes at the state level."