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Albany Technical College Hosts Fall Honors Day Program

September 12, 2011 - Albany Herald - Students at Albany Technical College were recognized Tuesday for service and excellence at the institution’s Fall Honors Day Program. Certificates were awarded in 11 areas, including the American Criminal Justice Association, National Technical Honors Society, Student Government Association and General Education Development (GED). Graduation will be on Friday.

Awards were presented following a processional of about 75 honor graduates, and a brief address given by Charlene Duncan, chairperson of the Early Childhood Care & Education Program at Albany Technical College.

One of the students, Rodriquez Thomas, 29, received a certificate of appreciation for his service as an ATC ambassador, which he described as being similar to a tour guide, chaperone or usher at various events.

“Every since Cooper closed, I’ve been trying to make plans to better myself,” Thomas said.

A former employee of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Thomas began his program of early childhood education at ATC in 2009 with the goal of owning his own daycare business. He is also taking courses in firefighting and wants to combine the two endeavors by providing daycare services to those in need of daycare at unusual hours.

Zachary Watson, 19, was tapped earlier this year for the National Technical Honor Society and received his certificate during the Tuesday program. He is already working on his associate’s degree in law enforcement. According to Watson, he’s become a more settled person since high school.

“I’ve found that now I’m here, it’s easier to just do the work and be done with it,” he said. “I would say to anyone that whatever you choose to do in life, be the best you can.”

Pamela Heglar, vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, said the purpose of the honors program is to “recognize students who excel in academics, but also those who have served in clubs and organizations on campus.”

“It’s important for us to recognize that many of these students work full or part-time,” Heglar said. “Many have families and so it’s a challenge for them to find time to serve in the organizations. It’s important because it develops their leadership skills.”

According to Heglar, many potential employers complain about the lack of so-called “soft” or interpersonal skills in the nation’s workforce and are looking to the technical schools to provide them. Involvement in social and organizational environments can help form those skills.

“Companies want to hire people who can work with others, and who express themselves well and understand teamwork,” Heglar said. “It’s important whether a student gets to class on time, whether he or she is cooperative with the teacher and the class. The entire attitude makes a big difference, and these things are incorporated into a student’s grade.”

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