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Katie Ballard named TCSG 2018 Adult Ed Student of the Year
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Katie Ballard named 2018 Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education (EAGLE) as the State's Adult Education Student of the Year!

The Technical College System of Georgia's twenty-two colleges participated in the 2018 Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education awards banquet held at the Cobb Galleria. The event culminates with the announcement of the EAGLE Award for outstanding achievement in the state’s adult education program. Katie Ballard, the delegate from Lanier Technical College, was named as the TCSG’s 2018 Adult Education Student of the Year.

The Technical College System of Georgia'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. Each March, the local EAGLE winners are the guests of a three-day conference in Atlanta that ends with a lunch banquet in their honor.

Photo of Katie Ballard with Lanier Tech President, Dr. Ray Perren;
Lanier Tech Adult Education Executive Director, Brenda Thomas; Ballard; Lanier Tech Adult Education Coordinator, Debbie Killip, and TCSG Comissioner Matt Arthur.

The awards were presented by TCSG Commissioner Matt Arthur and Beverly E. Smith, TCSG Assistant Commissioner for Adult Education, during a lunch banquet event. Over 200 guests at the Event 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. Ballard, who was selected by a panel of judges from business and education, will receive a full two-year scholarship to the technical college of her choice. In addition, her fees and books will be paid for through a stipend from the Brenda Wise Scholarship Fund, established in 2014 in memory of Brenda Wise, a lifelong supporter of adult education.

Photo of Katie Ballard with Lanier Tech President, Dr. Ray Perren.

In her speech, Ballard remarked, "Adult Education is crucial for building a bright future. It changes who we are for the better. Adult Education redeemed my self-worth. What is left for people like myself that don’t have high school credential? We become adult members of society; we struggle in minimum wage jobs; sometimes, we don't pay all of our bills. We don't contribute to society; we take from it, but I found my salvation. I found Lanier Tech's Adult Education Program and after six long months of hard work, I passed my GED®. The next time that I cried at a graduation, it was tears of joy, it was my own graduation. Thanks to Lanier Tech, I plan on earning my LPN and work towards my dream of being a Registered Nurse and midwife."

Over the coming year, Ballard will travel the state as Georgia’s EAGLE ambassador for adult education, speaking to students, civic groups, legislators and others about lifelong learning and the importance of earning a GED® credential. 

Dr. Ray Perren, President of Lanier Technical College, added, "Today we celebrate Adult Education in Georgia as we recognize the Adult Education Student of the year. Adult Education Programs change lives across our state and across generations. We are extremely proud of Katie. She will represent Lanier Tech and the entire State of Georgia well over the next year as she serves as the Ambassador for Adult Education. In hearing Katie speak, you cannot help but see her passion and dedication for helping others. This passion and dedication comes through in her work in getting the education to build a great career in nursing. Katie Ballard is a great example of how lives are changed for the better by the hundreds of Adult Ed staff and volunteers who work hard to help others succeed."

Katie is the second State EAGLE winner from Lanier Tech in the last three years and the College’s third State EAGLE winner. She joins Annie Thomas (2002) and Desmond Vaird (2016) as State EAGLE Ambassadors from Lanier Technical College.

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Effective Dec. 3, 2018, Lanier Technical College's address will be: 2535 Lanier Tech Drive, Gainesville, GA 30507
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