GOAL process highlights outstanding students
Cosmetology student Sheconda Benton emerged from several semi-finalists as Athens Technical College’s Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) winner and will go on to compete in regional judging with students from other technical colleges, according to Dr. Yancey Gulley, director of Student Activities and coordinator for the college’s GOAL program.
Four Athens Technical College students — Ms. Benton , Cosmetology program; Tiffany Pulliam, Criminal Justice program; Rebecca Reese, Biotechnology program; and Hillary Wilson, Paralegal Studies program, were selected as the college’s semi-finalists for the GOAL nomination.
“These students represent some of the best efforts of Athens Technical College,” college President Flora Tydings said. “They are proven leaders both in their academic endeavors and through their involvement on campus and in their community. We are honored to have such talented and dedicated individuals as members of the college community.”
GOAL, a statewide program of the Technical College System of Georgia, honors excellence in academics and leadership among the state’s technical college students. GOAL winners are selected at each of the state’s 25 technical colleges as well as the two Board of Regents colleges with technical education divisions.
A panel of community leaders gathered on Tuesday, January 22, to meet all the Athens Technical College semi-finalists and selected Ms. Benton as the GOAL representative for the college.
Not only is Ms. Benton a student in the Cosmetology program, but she also is a mother, wife, and full-time employee at Jackson EMC. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Information Systems from the University of West Georgia, but is pursuing technical training in Cosmetology at Athens Technical College so that she can one day open her own styling salon.
“I want to become a successful healthy hair care provider, who specializes in working with individuals who have wavy, coily, curly, and kinky hair types by utilizing my experience as a loctician and the skills learned during my technical college education,” Ms. Benton said. “My long-term goal is opening a thriving, full-service natural hair care salon serving Northeast Georgia.”
When asked why she chose Athens Technical College, Ms. Benton said, “Athens Technical College provides me with a superior education from faculty who are well-experienced cosmetologists and excellent, caring teachers. In this setting, industry leaders frequent the classroom to offer “real world” scenarios and the latest in industry trends, helping to provide new knowledge and allowing me to make connections with local employers. In addition, Athens Technical College provides affordable classes that work well with my other life duties.”
Teresa Bowles, program director for the Cosmetology program, highlighted the characteristics that make Ms. Benton a quality nominee for GOAL.
“Sheconda is an outstanding student,” Ms. Bowles said. “Her personality and commitment to her education set her apart as someone admired by her peers and instructors. She has a positive attitude and a drive to accomplish her career and entrepreneurial goals.”
GOAL winners from each of the Technical College System of Georgia’s 25 colleges, as well as winners from the two Board of Regents colleges, will compete in regional judging in February. In April, all college winners will meet in Atlanta where the nine semi-finalists — three finalists from each of the three regions — will be announced. A panel of judges then will interview the nine regional semi-finalists and select a statewide GOAL winner from that group. The state GOAL winner becomes the student ambassador for the Technical College System of Georgia
"The purpose of the GOAL program is to spotlight the outstanding achievement by students in Georgia's technical colleges and to emphasize the importance of technical education in today’s global workforce," Dr. Gulley said.