By Adrienne Andrews
Earning a GED is worth celebrating, and that’s just what the Technical College System of Georgia does with its annual EAGLE Awards.
For 22 years, the EAGLE (Exceptional Adult Georgians in Literacy Education) program has recognized individuals who participate in one of TCSG’s 28 adult education programs to obtain their GED. Awards include a car — the top prize — cash and iPads.
Beverly Smith, TCSG’s assistant commissioner for adult education, said the program aims to provide relatable role models for individuals who may be hesitant about going to college.
“It gives you the feeling that you, too, can do it,” she said.
How It Works
One student from each adult education program in Georgia is nominated by an instructor to become an EAGLE ambassador. Once selected, the EAGLE ambassador for each adult education program presents a speech and an essay to judges at regional competitions. The speech and essay must focus on the importance of adult education and the impact that it has had on their lives.
“We’re looking for well-rounded individuals, and also individuals who are willing to serve in the role of EAGLE ambassador, those that want to share the importance of adult education and the impact that it has on the state,” said Carla DeBose, TCSG’s director for personal development and transition resources.
The regional competitions narrow the 28 EAGLE ambassadors down to eight students competing each March for the grand prize. The 2015 prize was a new car donated by Jeff Smith Mitsubishi in Byron.
The runner-up receives a $500 stipend. Each of the 28 original EAGLE ambassadors receives an iPad and various gifts from TCSG adult education programs.
Tips from a Winner
The 2015 EAGLE winner, Justin Walters, 28 and originally from Loris, S.C., is a student at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, as well as a high school football and basketball coach. He is pursuing an early childhood education degree, after obtaining his GED in 2014.
“Personally, it has enlightened me that I could do anything I put my mind to, that all things are possible, that I am a student leader,” said Walters.
Having a support system of family, friends and teachers is key when trying to reach your educational goals, he said. Walters credits the support he received from Georgia Piedmont’s staff, including instructor April Greene, and his family, specifically his mother. Also, he adds that it’s important make a commitment to regularly attend classes.
“Adult education was very important for me to get back on track so that I could be successful,” said Walters.
If you are interested in pursuing your GED, visit tcsg.edu/adult_literacy.php to learn about Georgia’s adult education programs.
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