Technical College System of Georgia Announces 2021 Student of the Year

West Georgia Technical College Nursing Student Wins, Awarded 2021 KIA K5

NEWNAN, GA–The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) today announced the state’s top technical college student for 2021. Elizabeth Rodriguez, a Registered Nursing student from West Georgia Technical College was chosen as this year’s Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) winner.

“Through her hard work, leadership, and passion for helping others, Elizabeth has rightfully earned this tremendous honor as TCSG’s student of the year,” said TCSG Commissioner, Greg Dozier. “She has the admiration of her peers, her college, and the entire Technical College System of Georgia. I know that the West Georgia Technical College community is extremely proud of her as she becomes this year’s student ambassador for technical education across our state.”

The GOAL program, now in its 49th year, recognizes the most outstanding technical education students at the 22 TCSG colleges. As the award winner, Elizabeth Rodriguez will make public appearances as a representative for technical education during the next year, including meeting with Governor Brian Kemp and addressing the Georgia General Assembly.

Each year, selection for the GOAL program begins with the naming of the top technical education student at each college. Regional competitions follow and narrow the field to nine finalists for the award. Due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, a panel of judges interviewed this year’s nine finalists virtually. 

As the grand prize winner, Elizabeth Rodriguez from West Georgia Technical College received a brand new, made-in-Georgia, 2021 KIA K5, courtesy of KIA Georgia and delivered by Ed Voyles KIA of Chamblee. Elizabeth is the first West Georgia Technical College student to win the statewide GOAL award. 

“We are incredibly proud of Elizabeth and honored that she chose West Georgia Tech for her educational journey,” said West Georgia Technical College President, Dr. Julie Post “She is the best representative of why we do what we do in technical education every day.”

The first runner-up for the technical education student of the year was Miranda DeLoach, a Culinary Arts student from Ogeechee Technical College.

The nine 2021 GOAL finalists were:

  • Dawn Ammons, a Cosmetology student from South Georgia Technical College
  • Evan Mitchell Beccue, a Construction Management Technology and Carpentry student from Lanier Technical College
  • Elena Cohn, an Industrial Systems Technology student from Southern Crescent Technical College
  • Miranda DeLoach, a Culinary Arts student from Ogeechee Technical College
  • Dustin Ferguson, a Nursing student from Chattahoochee Technical College
  • Stephanie Kuhrt, a Marketing Management student from Georgia Northwestern Technical College
  • Noemi Reyes, a Practical Nursing student from Southern Regional Technical College
  • Elizabeth Rodriguez, a Registered Nursing Student from West Georgia Technical College
  • Lauren Serrano, a Paralegal Studies student from Augusta Technical College



The 22 colleges of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) are Georgia’s top resource for skilled workers. TCSG offers world-class training in 600 associate degree, diploma and certificate programs to students who are trained on state-of-the-art equipment by instructors who are experts in their fields. The system also houses Georgia’s Office of Adult Education, which promotes and provides adult literacy and education programs, including the GED testing program, throughout the state. In addition, TCSG partners with companies through Quick Start, the nation’s top customized workforce training program, and through its individual colleges, who work with local industry to provide workforce and training solutions. For more information, visit

Mark D’Alessio


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