Georgia Northwestern Technical College Announces 2010-2011 EAGLE Honorees


Georgia Northwestern Technical College is pleased to announce the 2010-2011 county representatives for the Exceptional Adult Georgians in Literacy Education (EAGLE) awards. The honorees include Melisha Porter, Chattooga County; Shavanti Hiles, Floyd County; Martin Palmerin, Gordon County; William Westbrook, Polk County; and Christian Dye, Walker County.  Each EAGLE representative was nominated by an instructor from the Adult Education program.

The EAGLE Awards program was the first Adult Education statewide effort in the U.S. to turn the spotlight on successful adults using the local adult education programs to improve their lives through learning. 

“These current and former students know what it takes to overcome the obstacles which adults face in making the decision to return to school, and then to achieve success,” commented Susan Hackney, vice president of Adult Education.

The representatives were honored at a luncheon held on December 2, 2010 at the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce. The luncheon was sponsored by GNTC and attended by all nominating instructors, Adult Education Advisory Board members, and Adult Education staff. Mike Johns, a former Gordon County EAGLE and current GNTC student, spoke to the group about his experiences. Johns encouraged the students to pursue their dreams and continue to further their education.

County representatives will serve for a year as ambassadors for their adult learning centers in an effort to encourage other adults to follow in their footsteps. One GNTC EAGLE representative will be selected, by a screening committee of lead instructors, to represent the college at the annual EAGLE Leadership Institute in Atlanta.  

Christian Dye currently resides in Chickamauga, but attended the GNTC Walker County Campus Adult Learning Center.  His nominating instructor was Marianne Weddle.  He earned a General Educational Development (GED)® Diploma, and hopes for a steady career in welding when he finishes a program of study at GNTC.  “I will feel successful when I can provide financially for my family,” commented Dye. “I learned I am smarter and academically more capable than I thought.  I have enjoyed the GED® classes and I have learned what I missed out on in school.”

Melisha Porter currently resides in Trion and attended the Chattooga County Adult Learning Center in Summerville. She earned a GED® Diploma and is now working on a degree in Management and Supervisory Development at GNTC. Her nominating instructor was Pat Money. “The first step is the hardest,” said Porter. “I earned my GED and I am now enrolled in college. Two years ago, I would never have thought I would be where I am today. I am very proud of what I have accomplished.”

Martin Palmerin grew up in Mexico and now lives in Calhoun. He attended the GNTC Adult Learning Center on the Gordon County Campus. After being laid off from his job in 2009, he enrolled in English as a Second Language classes. Less than a year later, he passed his GED® in English.  He then became a U.S. citizen and enrolled at GNTC. “In under two years, he has begun and completed three major life goals that take most people decades to achieve: A GED, U.S. citizenship, and admission to college,” said Lisa McKinney, nominating instructor for Martin Palmerin. Martin commented that he has learned he has more opportunities in life than what he thought possible.


Shavanti Hiles is a resident of Rome and attended the GNTC Adult Learning Center on the Floyd County Campus. Her nominating instructor was Diane Elrod.  Shavanti earned her GED® Diploma and is currently enrolled in GNTC’s Patient Care Assisting program with a concentration in phlebotomy.  Her future goal is to continue her education and become a registered nurse.  When asked about a major success she experienced in adult education, she cited walking across the stage during the GED graduation and receiving her diploma. “I learned that our dreams are only as far as we reach, so if we keep reaching, success never stops,” said Hiles.

William Westbrook is from Rockmart and attended the GNTC Adult Learning Center on the Polk County Campus. He earned his GED® Diploma and was nominated as an EAGLE representative by his instructor, Jerry Palmer. When asked about lessons learned in adult education, he responded, “It is never too late to go back to school.” After Westbrook lost his job, he decided to pursue his GED®. “It makes me extremely proud to reach my goal,” stated Westbrook. “I was very excited that I was going to school for myself and not because I had too.”