The Calhoun-Gordon Council for a Literate Community, Mannington Carpets, and Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) named Tamara Burchett as the 2011 GEDD Award Winner. The award ceremony was held at Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Gordon County Campus on May 17, 2011.
The GEDD Award is presented each year to a GNTC GED graduate that exemplifies the qualities set forth in the GEDD acronym. GEDD stands for goals that students must set in order to achieve, excellence before and after receiving their GED, determination, and making a difference in his or her environment. The GEDD Award concept was created by a group of GED instructors at GNTC, Coleen Brooks, Lisa McKinney, and Spence Ramsey and by Calhoun-Gordon Council for a Literate Community Executive Director, Wayne Minshew.
Burchett is the eighth recipient of the GEDD award.
This is Tamara’s story:
It was with a cautious approach that Tamara Burchett entered GED classes and then Coosa Valley Technical College in the spring of 2005.
However, she also entered with a special motivation. She wanted to teach children in special education. Today, six years later, she has realized her goal to serve as para-pro at Calhoun High School and teach children afflicted with nearly debilitating diseases such as cerebral palsy, among others.
There were times when Ms. Burchett, shaking her head and close to tears, would confide to a co-worker, “I can’t do this.” “Give it time,” said the co-worker. “Give it time.”
As it turns out, Tamara possessed what is perhaps the most needed trait in her chosen profession – patience. She stayed with it, teaching, advising, cajoling, nudging, and urging her young students onward.
Then there was an “A-Ha!” moment. “I made a child laugh,” she says. “Out loud.” Now, a laugh or a smile is a rewarding reaction.
Tamara Burchett has made a real difference, thereby achieving one of the big D’s in the acronym GEDD. She has realized each of the qualities in the acronym but has learned that making a difference in someone’s life is the big one.
Tamara, who was born in Rome, entered classes in 2005 with trepidation but was urged on by adult learning department instructors. She gained confidence along the way and attained her GED certificate.
“I wanted to work with special education children,” she says. “That was my motivation. You are at a dead end without a degree. I was happy and very proud when I received mine. I felt it was a great personal accomplishment.”
Burchett was humble when she spoke to the crowd at the ceremony thanking her instructors and most importantly her family.
As a part of the GEDD Award, winners receive a plaque on the GED Wall of Honor. Burchett joins previous GEDD Award winners Sgt. Justin Baumgardner, Jeremy Carlson, Kevin Casey, William Daniel Jr., Judy Housley, John Russell, and Clinton Marshall.