NGTC Announces 2024 Top College Honors

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GOAL and RPA Winners Announced at Habersham Rotary 

Clarkesville, GA – Maria Zavala de Orozco of Cornelia, Ga., was named North Georgia Technical College’s 2024 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) winner at today’s Habersham Rotary meeting. Nominated by her instructor, Dr. Martha Marquardt, Zavala de Orozco is a registered nursing student at the Blairsville campus.  

GOAL, a statewide program of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), started in 1971 and continues to honor excellence in academics and leadership among the state’s technical college students. GOAL candidates are nominated by an instructor and must maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher and demonstrate strong work ethics and leadership skills. Local GOAL winners are selected at each of the state’s 22 technical colleges. 

Students representing various programs across North Georgia Technical College’s campuses were nominated as candidates to represent NGTC in the state competition. The top four finalists selected for the 2024 GOAL award included Angie Bartron, accounting student of Blairsville, Ga., nominated by instructor Dorothy Hansen; Kaitlyn Crosby, welding technology student of Mount Airy, Ga., nominated by instructor Ronnie Ayers; Paul Hopkins, precision machining and manufacturing student of Toccoa, Ga., nominated by instructor Derrick Hogan; and Zavala de Orozco.  

The Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction (RPA) was also presented at the Habersham Rotary meeting to medical assisting instructor, Vanessa Lone of Toccoa, Ga. Lone has been employed with the college since 2014.  

The Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction honors technical education’s most outstanding instructors by recognizing instructors who make significant contributions to technical education through innovation and leadership in their fields. One instructor is chosen each year from the 22 colleges in the Technical College System of Georgia. 

Lone provides classroom instruction and hands-on training in medical office procedures, medical insurance management, legal aspects of a medical office, administrative practice management, pharmacology, and more. She also serves as an academic advisor to medical assisting students. Lone holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Valdosta State University, an associate of applied science degree from South University in Savannah, Ga., and a medical assisting diploma from NGTC.  

“I am honored to recognize these outstanding students and faculty for their hard work and commitment to technical education,” said NGTC President John Wilkinson. “I commend each of them for their dedication and perseverance in competing for these distinguished awards and in achieving their personal career goals. On behalf of NGTC, congratulations to each of you on this incredible achievement. We look forward to supporting Maria and Vanessa as they represent our college at the next level.”  

NGTC is grateful to the following organizations for sponsoring the GOAL and Rick Perkins Award for Excellence with monetary awards: NGTC Foundation, Habersham Rotary, Habersham County Chamber of Commerce, Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce, Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce, and Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Habersham.  

Both the GOAL and Rick Perkins Award winners will now advance to represent NGTC at the regional competition, which will be held March 12, 2024.  

For more information regarding North Georgia Technical College programs or admission, visit northgatech.edu or call 706-754-7700.  

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Pictured (L to R): Bailey Ray, NGMC Habersham Residency Coordinator; 2024 NGTC RPA Winner Vanessa Lone; and Amy Poole, NGMC Habersham Workforce Development Coordinator.  
Pictured (L to R): Bailey Ray, NGMC Habersham Residency Coordinator; 2024 NGTC RPA Winner Vanessa Lone; and Amy Poole, NGMC Habersham Workforce Development Coordinator.  
Pictured (L to R): 2024 NGTC GOAL Winner, Maria Zavala de Orozco; Dr. Michele Shirley, NGTC executive vice president of administrative services; and 2024 NGTC RPA Winner Vanessa Lone.  
Pictured (L to R): 2024 NGTC GOAL Winner, Maria Zavala de Orozco; Dr. Michele Shirley, NGTC executive vice president of administrative services; and 2024 NGTC RPA Winner Vanessa Lone.  

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