ALBANY, GEORGIA – Today at Albany Rotary’s weekly meeting, a panel formed by the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, named Albany Tech’s 2018 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) winner. Julianna Matthews, Carpentry student at Albany Tech, will represent Albany Technical College for 2018 as the GOAL Student of the Year.

Albany Tech’s nominees for GOAL included: Robert Clements (Business Logistics Management); Johnnie Hunter (Business Technology); Jennifer John (Dental Assisting); Alexis Lopes (Law Enforcement Technology); Julianna Matthews (Carpentry); Randi Palmer (Law Enforcement Technology); Marie Perez (Nursing); Tangelia Smith (Accounting); Ty Summers (Professional Firefighter); and Ashanti Terry (Computer Information Systems).

The final four GOAL nominees included: Johnnie Hunter (Business Technology); Julianna Matthews (Carpentry); Ty Summers (Professional Firefighter); and Ashanti Terry (Computer Information Systems).

Julianna Matthews, a second semester student in the Carpentry program at ATC, was nominated by her instructor Willie Jones, chair of the Carpentry program. Jones nominated Matthews because she displayed such a great work ethic and self-responsibility, as well as having a great attitude, communication skills, and leadership abilities.

“Ms. Matthews is very ambitious and possesses the will to research different aspects of carpentry and the construction industry to gain knowledge in the preparation of her endeavors,” said Jones. “She is a strong leader, as well as a good follower and applies herself to earn the highest scores possible in all her classes.”

Matthews said that being nominated for the GOAL award has opened up the door to much self-discovery as she has had to reflect on her life’s journey, some of which has been somewhat painful, but it’s taken her back to her first love as a child of wanting to build things.

“My experience throughout the GOAL process so far has been that of self-realization and self-discovery,” said Matthews. “It has caused me to grow as a person and to identify, not only why I chose technical education, but what exactly I will do with this opportunity and that is to build and revitalize my community.”

“It’s like God kept reeling me back to this field and kept reminding me that you can do anything you set your mind to do,” said Matthews.

Not knowing what to expect from technical education, Matthews said that when she first stepped foot into the Carlton Construction Academy at Albany Tech, she was where she needed to be. “I was so excited and couldn’t believe the possibilities of technical education until I experienced it for myself,” she said.

Matthews also said that it’s really not about what we buy or sell, it’s what we accomplish in this life and the legacy we leave through the lives of others and she feels the GOAL opportunity has positioned her to make that impact.

The regional competition for the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Southern Region, which includes Albany Technical College, Coastal Pines Technical College, Oconee Fall Line Technical College, Ogeechee Technical College, South Georgia Technical College, Southern Regional Technical College, and Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, will be held later in February at the Tifton Campus of Southern Regional Tech.

The TCSG State competition will be held in mid-April in Atlanta. Each GOAL winner from all 22 technical colleges in Georgia will be represented at the state competition. The state winner becomes the spokesperson for technical education in Georgia for the entire year and is awarded a car from Kia Motors.

About Albany Technical College

A public postsecondary institution of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), Albany Technical College provides technical education and training support for the evolving workforce needs of Southwest Georgia through traditional and online classroom settings. Albany Tech is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS/COC). For more information about Albany Tech, go to or become a fan on Facebook at or on Twitter at You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel by visiting

About the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL)

First launched in 1971, the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) focuses on student excellence in technical education by focusing on academic excellence and personal achievement. A panel of judges selects one student, the state GOAL Winner, to serve as an ambassador of technical education in Georgia. GOAL winners represent the “new image” of Georgia’s technical colleges. Students must recognize technical education’s critical impact on Georgia’s overall economic health, have a strong work ethic, a dedicated sense of loyalty, and a healthy enthusiasm for promoting technical education in Georgia. GOAL winners are the best possible advertisement for technical education. They prove every day that the best technical education consists of more than manipulative skills. Technical education prepares us for the world of work. GOAL students are an indication of what technical education at its best can achieve and of the caliber of individuals who are choosing Georgia’s technical colleges. The winning GOAL student for the state of Georgia serves as an ambassador for technical education in Georgia and makes many public appearances throughout the year including addresses to the Georgia General Assembly, Governor and TCSG’s Student Fall Leadership Conference, to name a few.

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