Wiregrass EAGLE Student Attends State Conference

March 31, 2014

Mary Byron
Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia, Ron Jackson; Deputy Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia, Dr. Josephine Reed-Taylor; EAGLE Delegate, Mary Byron, and Asst. Commissioner for Adult Education, Beverly E. Smith.

Valdosta, GA - The Technical College System of Georgia recognized 28 adult learners with the EAGLE Award for outstanding achievement in the state’s adult education program. EAGLE stands for Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education. This program celebrates adult learners in pursuit of excellence. The students received their awards during the annual Georgia Eagle Leadership Institute held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Atlanta on March 27, 2014.

Wiregrass EAGLE representative Mary Byron was among those honored. Mary traveled to Atlanta along with staff from the Wiregrass Adult Education Services program. “Mrs. Byron represented Wiregrass Georgia Technical College’s Adult Education Services Program very well. Mary’s experiences and knowledge during the EAGLE Leadership Summit has inspired her to not only obtain her GED but to pursue post-secondary opportunities,” stated Alvin Payton, Vice President for Adult Education Services.

Kiva Brownlee, adult education instructor, accompanied Mary to the Leadership Institute and stated “Mary did an excellent job representing Wiregrass. She seemed to really enjoy being able to share her story with others.”

Now in its 21st year, the system’s EAGLE (Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education) Award acknowledges the outstanding accomplishments of Georgians who enroll in the TCSG’s adult education programs in order to study for and earn their GED® credential. More than 71,000 men and women took part in Georgia’s adult education programs last year, and 15,450 received their GED credential.

Each March, the 28 local EAGLE winners are the guests of a three-day conference in Atlanta that ends with a lunch banquet in their honor. Almost 300 guests applauded the students for overcoming obstacles that once stood in the way of their education and then excelling in the classroom while preparing for their GED credential.

The awards were presented by TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson and Beverly Smith, the TCSG assistant commissioner for adult education. Jackson praised the students for their achievement and asked them to share their positive message in their hometowns. “Your success makes you great role models for the 1.2 million adults in Georgia who still do not possess a high school diploma. We need you to spread the word to your fellow Georgians that obtaining a GED credential is an important step toward discovering your potential, getting a better job, and improving the future for you, your family and your community. ”

Jackson then announced that panel of judges from business and education had selected Unique Bunch, an EAGLE delegate from Atlanta Technical College, to be the TCSG’s 2014 adult education student of the year. He brought her to the podium where he handed her a set of keys to the grand prize, a new 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer ES that was donated by Jeff Smith, the owner of the Jeff Smith Mitsubishi, Chevrolet and Ford dealerships in Byron, Georgia; the Jeff Smith Kia and Dodge Chrysler Jeep in dealerships in Perry; and the Jeff Smith Automotive Group in Warner Robins.

The runner-up for the adult education student of the year is Jennifer Crawford from Altamaha Technical College.

Wiregrass provides free adult education services to the citizens in eleven counties including Atkinson, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Coffee, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, and Wilcox. These services include adult basic education classes, English as a Second Language classes, and GED preparation courses. For more information on adult education services please call 229-468-2271 or 229-333-5496.