Technical College System of Georgia honors 26 adult learners with 2018 EAGLE Award

Katherine Ballard from Lanier Technical College is named Georgia’s adult education student of the year

ATLANTA, GA—The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) has recognized 26 adult learners with the 25th annual EAGLE Award for outstanding achievement in the state’s adult education program. Katherine Ballard, a delegate from Lanier Technical College, was named as TCSG’s 2018 adult education student of the year.

The awards were presented by TCSG Commissioner Matt Arthur and TCSG Assistant Commissioner for Adult Education, Beverly E. Smith, during an event at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel in Atlanta on March 14.

“We are honoring these tremendous students today because the path they took to get here today certainly wasn’t an easy one,” said Commissioner Arthur. “Through hard work and perseverance, these EAGLE delegates are improving their lives through adult education. They serve as an inspiration to us all.”

Katherine Ballard, who was selected by a panel of judges from business and education, will receive a full 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.

Over the coming year, Katherine 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.

The two runner-ups for the adult education student of the year are Lamin Kuyateh from the Cobb County School District and Melissa Smiley from Savannah Technical College. Winner of the “Spirit” award is Robert Earl Williams from West Georgia Technical College. About 270 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.

Now in its 25th 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 52,000 men and women took part in Georgia’s adult education programs last year. 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.

The complete list of the EAGLE delegates for 2018 and the TCSG college, school system, or local authority that delivers their adult education and GED® program follows. Photos are available by request:

Damario Taylor, Albany Technical College
Trevyanka Forbes, Athens Technical College
Roxanne Thomas, Atlanta Public Schools
Cleonna Trammell, Atlanta Technical College
Maritza Orellano, Augusta Technical College
Chereese Clayton, Central Georgia Technical College
Samantha Ann Massingill, Chattahoochee Technical College
Brandy Dorsey, Clayton County Public Schools
Ashlee Adams, Coastal Pines Technical College
Lamin Kuyateh, Cobb County School District*
Xavier Lewis, Columbus Technical College*
William Edward Nichols, Georgia Northwestern Technical College*
LaTrevya Mitchell, Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Kathryn Mulvaney, Gwinnett Technical College*
Katherine Ballard, Lanier Technical College*
Chingling Lo, Literacy Action
Haley Alexis Bearden, North Georgia Technical College
Cristy Bedingfield, Oconee Fall Line Technical College*
Taylor Riner, Ogeechee Technical College
Melissa Smiley, Savannah Technical College*
Christian Holloman, South Georgia Technical College
Christina Richards, Southeastern Technical College
Kathleen Gould, Southern Crescent Technical College
Brittany Williamson, Southern Regional Technical College
Robert Earl Williams, West Georgia Technical College
Monica McKenzie, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College*
*Denotes a finalist

About the Technical College System of Georgia
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