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Albany Tech graduates take giant step toward careers

ALBANY – Westover High School senior Jatoria McGhee is 2 weeks away from commencement, however she already has checked off two of her objectives on her journey to changing into a pharmacist.

On Friday, McGhee was one among round 600 graduates to stroll away with certificates and levels in Albany Technical College commencement ceremonies held on the Albany State University West Campus. The dual-enrollment pupil beforehand earned her credentials as a licensed nurse’s aide.

“I feel like it’s a very big accomplishment to be skilled in high school and to get a head start on life,” she informed a reporter after the commencement ceremony was accomplished. “I’m excited. I feel like I’ve accomplished one milestone.”

The graduate mentioned she plans to attend Albany State University for affiliate’s and bachelor’s levels earlier than shifting to pharmacy college at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, her mom, Valerie McGhee, mentioned.

“I am overjoyed,” mentioned the mom, who’s an assistant principal at Radium Springs Middle School. “I am thankful for the dual-enrollment program. I think it gives students a great start and a way to save on college tuition as well. I am super proud of Jatoria for being a student and athlete.”

In addition to her class work, Jatoria has been a four-time winner in area observe competitors, Valerie McGhee mentioned.

Graduate John Norfleet additionally mentioned he plans to proceed his training after his second commencement ceremony at Albany Tech. On Friday, the Home Depot division supervisor acquired an affiliate’s diploma in enterprise administration, and he mentioned he plans to pursue a bachelor’s diploma within the topic at Kennesaw State University.

The Macon native credit Albany Tech with making issues simpler for a pupil who works full-time and has six kids. He hopes to work his means up the administration ladder at his firm sooner or later.

“They understand family comes first, so they work with me a lot,” he mentioned. “I like the curriculum. The teachers are very understanding.”

For anybody considering enrolling at Albany Tech, Norfleet, who spent 14 years within the Marines earlier than shifting to Albany to be near his brother, beneficial leaping in and taking a shot.

“Definitely,” he mentioned. “Go do it. Once you get started, don’t stop. I’m pretty happy to get to go to the next stage, this next chapter in my life.

“I love knowledge. I love to learn. My next step is to get more knowledge and continue going.”

The commencement ceremony represents Albany Tech fulfilling its mission to show college students who will develop into a part of the area’s financial system and fill positions at firms within the space, faculty President Emmett Griswold mentioned.

“That is the core of our mission … nurses, commercial truck drivers, just all of the areas that are in need of workers,” he mentioned.

During his speech to the scholars, the Rev. Theodus Drake Jr. informed the story of how he grew to become the primary in a household that included 13 siblings to go to school, in his case for electrical. As one among 9 boys residing within the nation, Drake mentioned he minimize wooden 12 months round to feed the range and fireplaces that saved the home heated.

One day his father introduced residence an eclectic range that supplied a respite from the necessity to minimize wooden in the summertime – till it malfunctioned.

“I had to figure out a way to make this stove work,” he mentioned “We were all afraid of electricity. I heard the (school) had a course in electricity. There was no such thing as a Pell grant. There was no such thing as a loan.”

About seven months into his research, Drake was recruited by the Southern Bell Telephone Co., he mentioned, and he grew to become the primary black lineman in southwest Georgia. He ultimately grew to become a supervisor and held different positions till he retired as an engineering specialist.

“That’s where my career ended, but it began with that old stove, because I had to keep that stove running,” he mentioned. “Our degree is our launching pad. James Brown once said ‘I don’t want nobody to give me anything, just open up the door and I’ll get it myself.’”

The Second Mt. Zion Baptist Church minister inspired college students to decide on a career that matches their ardour.

“You ought to love what you do,” he mentioned. “You ought to love to go to work. You’ve got to be good at what you do. Never stop being a student. Always be a learner. That’s the key.

“Finally, break off a piece of sacrifice. (You) don’t want to get paid for everything. Break off a piece of your life where you give it, because God has given it to you.”

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