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ATC recognizes honor grads

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- In all, more than 40 students from Albany Technical College qualified as honor graduates during the 2010-11 academic year.

A few of those recently got to enjoy some time in the spotlight.

The institution hosted its spring Honors Day program at the Kirkland Conference Center on campus Tuesday morning.

"It's a day to honor the best and brightest students," said Charlene Duncan, an early education teacher who recently became the college's 2011 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year. "(The honor students) really enjoy the college experience and are able to balance (school and other responsibilities).

"It's a day to honor their work."

The group, which was 14 in number, was given awards in areas such as the President's List, Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership, National Technical Honors Society, Foundation Setters for Future Minds, Albany Tech Chorus, Competitive Collegiate DECA, SkillsUSA, Student Ambassadors, Student Government Association, highest test scores for the General Education Development (GED) test and many others.

Christy Lane, who received an award for obtaining a perfect reading GED score, was in that group.

"I'm excited and nervous," Lane said following the ceremony. "It's the feeling you get when you miss out on something and get to do it later in life."

Another person from the group was Howard Seamon, a former Cooper Tire & Rubber employee who has been working at Oxford Construction for roughly a month now.

"I'm happy to be graduating," the 50-year-old said. "I was worried about getting a job in this economy, but I actually had several people contact me about a job.

"I've been blessed."

The money was good at Cooper Tire, and adjusting after the Albany plant's closing was difficult, but Seamon said he's happier now.

"It's been a dream of mine to get a college degree, and I've got one now," he said. "Albany Tech is just one big hidden secret. They've got some really good instructors. They are world class."

The instructors Seamon mentioned by name, Cliff Kyle and Leigh Davis, were among those who had the biggest impact on him.

"You can have a teacher teach, but if you can't convey the knowledge, then (the knowledge) is useless," he said. "I've come to respect a lot of the teachers (at Albany Tech).

"The caliber of an instructor is what makes the student."

The guest speaker at the event was Jerona Edmonds, a graduate of Albany Tech and paraprofessional with the Mitchell County School System. During her remarks, she spoke of how she overcame a disadvantaged upbringing and a teen pregnancy, which set off a chain of events that led her to Albany Tech.

"I want you to know that I didn't quit and I won't quit, because my goal is to become Dr. Jerona Edmonds," she said. "Don't sit on your future, keep going. There are a lot of resources that can help you."

Edmonds received her associate's degree in early childhood care and education from Albany Tech in 2006. She is a 2010 graduate of Albany State University, where she received a bachelor's degree in early childhood education. In the top 15 percent of her graduating class at Albany State, Edmonds has served on the Albany Tech Alumni Association and is a member of Sigma Alpha Pi Society of Leadership and Success, as well as the Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society.

On an unrelated note, Albany Tech was expected to induct 42 candidates into the school's National Technical Honors Society chapter Tuesday evening.