December 7, 2016 - Albany, GA - Albany Technical College will hold Fall 2016 Commencement Exercises on Thursday, December 8, 2016, at 7 p.m. at the Albany Civic Center. A reception will be held prior to the ceremony in the Meeting Room of the Civic Center.

Nearly 220 students are set to receive associate degrees, almost 500 diplomas, and 1,150 technical certificates of credit. Over 100 students are slated to receive their General Education Development (GED). In addition, nearly 90 students will be walking with various honors, including American Criminal Justice Association Club, Ambassadors, Engineering Club (E-Club), Honors with Distinction, National Technical Honors Society (NTHS), Phi Beta Lambda (PBL), Presidential Scholar, SkillsUSA, Student Fellowship for Christians (SFC), Student Government Association (SGA), and General Education Development (GED). These students were honored at the college’s Honor’s Day program held earlier this week.

Keynote speaker for the ceremony will be Dr. Angela Hines-Brown, Early Childhood Care and Education instructor for West Georgia Technical College and the 2016 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year for the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). Through hard work, Brown has risen from humble beginnings to become the first person in her family to earn a Ph.D. She is a firm believer that where you come from does not dictate where you are going in life.

“It is up to each individual to decide his or her own fate,” said Brown. “We all have the power to achieve our dreams if we believe in ourselves, develop a plan, keep the faith, and work diligently to accomplish our goals.”

Brown graduated as the valedictorian of Greenville High School. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of West Georgia and a Ph.D. from Capella University. She has spent over a decade as an elementary school teacher and instructional coach and was selected as the Teacher of the Year at Ruth Hill Elementary twice during her tenure as an educator. In 2009, she was honored as the Coweta County School System Teacher of the Year.

In 2010, Brown transitioned from service as a public school educator into the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). Her passion for education and skill as an instructor became an inspiration to her students, peers, and

administration. Just this year, she won the Rick Perkins Award of Excellence in Technical Instruction for West Georgia College and in April, was named the 2016 TCSG Instructor of the Year.

Among the graduates for Thursday’s commencement is Benjamin Johnson, who will be graduating with his GED and is also enrolled in Albany Tech’s Diesel Equipment Technology diploma program. The 48-year-old Americus native quit high school in the tenth grade to go to work and help his family. He worked for Textron Automotive (formerly Davidson Exterior Trim) in Americus for 19 years as a Rack Fabrication Technician until the plant closed in 2007. Finding himself unemployed, he worked odd jobs until getting a contract job at the Marine Depot Maintenance Command (MDMC) in Albany in 2009.

Johnson was encouraged by the base to complete his GED and to get certified as a Diesel Technician. Through Albany Tech’s “Ability to Benefit” (ATB) program, this was a win-win for him. He was able to take classes toward his GED and enroll in the Diesel Equipment Technology diploma program simultaneously. On Thursday, he will receive his GED and in the spring of 2017, will graduate with his diploma in Diesel. His ultimate goal is to one day own his own shop.

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