2017 Goal Winner and nominating instructor

NGTC 2017 GOAL winner Gina Sneed with her nominating instructor from the Blairsville NGTC campus, Deborah Shelton.

Clarkesville, GA — Gina Sneed of Blue Ridge, Ga., was named North Georgia Technical College’s 2017 Georgia Occupational Award for Leadership (GOAL) student at a recent Habersham Rotary meeting. Nominated by her instructor Deborah Shelton, Sneed is a nursing student at the Blairsville NGTC campus.

GOAL candidates are nominated by an instructor and must maintain a least a 3.0 GPA and demonstrate strong work ethics and leadership skills. This statewide award program of the Technical College System of Georgia was actually started at NGTC in the early 1970s and continues to honor excellence in academics and leadership among the state’s technical college students today. Local GOAL winners are selected at each of the state’s 22 technical colleges. 

Each year the Habersham County Chamber of Commerce, White County Chamber of Commerce, and Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce show their support with monetary awards to the finalists and their nominating instructors. The Rotary Club of Habersham supports the program not only by hosting the event, but they also give the GOAL winner and the nominating instructor an award. 

From across all three of North Georgia Technical College’s campuses, students representing various programs were nominated as candidates to represent NGTC in the state competition. The top 12 semi-finalists selected for the 2017 GOAL award included Angie Barhe, criminal justice student from Cleveland, Ga.; Joe Garmon, horticulture student from Maysville, Ga.; Jennifer Hooper, early childhood education student from Blairsville, Ga.; Makenzie Hurley, photography student from Demorest, Ga.; Megan Kaylor, nursing student from Blue Ridge, Ga.; Abbie Lewallen, welding student from Baldwin, Ga.; Kimberly Martin, photography student from Cleveland, Ga.; Stephanie McCauley, business technology student from Hartwell, Ga.; Jeffrey Nichols, criminal justice student from Lakemont, Ga.; Regina Sneed, nursing student from Blue Ridge, Ga.; Kayla Sollenberger, clinical lab student from Dahlonega, Ga.; and Bailei Whitener, accounting student from Blue Ridge, Ga.

Through a series of competitive interviews and speeches detailing why they chose technical education, four were selected by NGTC faculty and staff for advanced competition: Angie Barhe, nominated by instructor Pam Segars; Joe Garmon, nominated by Craig Thurmond; Abbie Lewallen, nominated by Ronnie Ayers; and Sneed.

“We are extremely proud of all of our GOAL nominees,” said President Dr. Mark Ivester. “Hearing each nominee’s emotional story of how NGTC has helped them achieve an important goal in their life is always inspiring. They are all winners for successfully pursuing their educational aspirations with such admirable leadership. We are also very grateful for the partnerships we have with the Rotary and the area Chambers who support our celebration of these exceptional students and their instructors.”

As the NGTC 2017 GOAL winner, Sneed will now advance to represent NGTC at the region level.

For more information on programs of study at North Georgia Technical College, visit or call 706-754-7700.


Goal 2017 Nominees(front, l to r): NGTC 2017 GOAL nominees: Kayla Sollenberger, Megan Kaylor, Mackenzie Hurley, Lisa Bolman, Abbie Lewallen, Jennifer Hooper, Megan Trowman, Gina Sneed, Hope Long, Stephanie McCauley, (back) Joe Garmon, Bailei Whitener, Kimberly Martin, Angie Barhe, and Jeffrey Nichols.

2017 Top 4 GOAL finalists with their nominating instructors.

At the Habersham Rotary meeting January 19 for the GOAL winner announcement: NGTC President Dr. Mark Ivester, welding instructor Ronnie Ayers, welding student Abbie Lewallen, nursing instructor Deborah Shelton, NGTC 2017 GOAL winner Gina Sneed, criminal justice student Angie Bahre, criminal justice instructor Pam Segars, horticulture student Joe Garmon, horticulture instructor Craig Thurmond.