Four Lanier Technical College students told their success stories and were honored for their accomplishments at Tuesday’s Gainesville Lions Club meeting.
The Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership has been honoring technical students for 38 years now, according to Lanier Tech GOAL Coordinator Jennifer Pulliam.
"The purpose of the GOAL program is to spotlight the outstanding achievement by students in Georgia’s technical colleges, and to emphasize the importance of technical education in today’s global work force," Pulliam said.
Lanier Tech students Amanda McDaniell of Flowery Branch, Jose A. Madera and Allison Taylor, both of Gainesville, were GOAL semifinalists on the Lanier Tech level. Jason Daniell of Gainesville, a machine tool technology student and father of two, was named Lanier Tech’s GOAL winner.
Lanier Tech President Mike Moye presented Daniell with a $250 check from Lanier Tech’s Student Government Association.
Daniell will advance to the regional GOAL competition within the next month, where he will be pitted against Gwinnett, North Georgia, DeKalb and Athens technical school GOAL winners for a shot at being named the state’s winner. Moye said traditionally, the state GOAL winner receives a brand new Chevrolet.
Gainesville Lions Club member Tom Nichols was one of the judges on the panel that selected Daniell as the winner from the group of four semifinalists. He said the decision didn’t come easy, because each student made it clear in their speeches to judges they were excited about the opportunities a degree from Lanier Tech provided.
"They’re the kind of students we need today," Nichols said. "These are four eager people who are enthusiastic and like what they’re doing. I’m positive they all will make a positive contribution."
At Tuesday’s Lions Club meeting, semifinalists had a few minutes to explain how Lanier Tech has affected their lives.
Daniell said after graduating from Lumpkin County High School, he started college in Atlanta but found himself lost in the big classes, and quit school his freshman year. Years later, he then fell in love with the craft of making tools and sought a degree in tool-making.
Between his role as father, husband and pastor of a Cleveland church, Daniell said Lanier Tech’s flexible class schedules allowed him to be a in classes where he was able to start making tools quickly.
He credits Lanier Tech’s commitment to training and re-training employees as a real asset to Georgia workers looking to better their job skills and pay in the current economy.
As the recession grew deeper this winter, the Technical College System of Georgia reported a 9.4 percent increase in enrollment over last year. The largest enrollment growth occurred in students between the ages of 21 and 35.