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Summer Semester begins Monday!
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What’s Left is What’s Right: Trucking With Dyslexia

Teaching To The Student at GNTC

 

Ashley Petty sits in the cab of a GNTC tractor-trailer while her instructor stands on the ground alongside the open door to the cab.
“Gordon County, Georgia’s Ashley Petty poses from the cab of a Georgia Northwestern Technical College Commercial Truck Driving program tractor-trailer. Standing in the foreground on a hot day at the college’s truck driving facility is Georgia Northwestern Technical College Program Director Robert Browder.”

 

(Northwest Georgia) – Not knowing which way to turn in life is a very common feeling among most adults. Whether it is figuring out how to pay the bills or how to handle raising a child, 32-year-old Ashley Petty knows those struggles all too well.

But for Petty, not knowing which way to turn in life is more than just an expression. It’s a trial that has led to a triumph in earning her Commercial Truck Driving certification at Georgia Northwestern Technical College.

You see, Petty suffers from dyslexia. The disorder makes learning to read, write, interpret symbols, etc… much more difficult than it is for your average college student. It doesn’t affect a person’s intelligence, but it makes cracking the code of everyday life a puzzle all on its own.

“I have what is called directional dyslexia,” said Petty in an interview at the Georgia Northwestern Technical College Commercial Truck Driving facility in Walker County, Georgia. “I had a tough time being able to figure out directions in transportation. If an instructor told me to turn the wheel to the right or left, I really had a problem. I had to find a new way to learn.”

For anyone who has ever attempted to “back-up” a trailer of any size as it is hitched to a pulling vehicle, they know it is a difficult task. Now, Petty was previously a bus driver for a Georgia school system before coming to GNTC. “However, that’s a different thing altogether when you back-up a bus. It isn’t split in the middle,” said Georgia Northwestern Technical College Commercial Truck Driving Program Director Robert Browder. “Manipulating the tractor and the trailer at the same time requires concentration and precision. With Ashley’s dyslexia, she saw this as a major problem to overcome. But, we just realized it meant we simply needed to teach her a little differently.”

Commercial Truck Driving instructions will have drivers make left or right-hand turns, as well as have to back up their trailers in one direction or the other. “I spoke with our Disabilities Services specialists at the college and they helped us think of some great learning techniques,” said Browder. “When we want her to turn the wheel to the right, she immediately knows to turn towards the hand with the ring on it. She now wears a ring on her right hand to remind her. Now, her ring hand is her right hand. She turns towards the ring.”

There are other little short cuts that Petty has learned along the way thanks to her college instructor and her classmates. “I’ve battled dyslexia all my life,” said Petty. “Now, my 10-year-old, Sidney, also lives with it and battles it herself in her classroom, too. However, partly as a result of how I’ve had to learn the hard way, she is now really starting to perform well in school. We simply wouldn’t let her take the easy way out. A good school and patient teachers have made that adjustment an easier one for Sidney at her school and me at mine.”

Before settling down in Gordon County, Georgia, Petty and her daughter lived in Murphy, North Carolina. She says one of her daughter’s teachers in North Carolina really made the struggle hit home for her. “She had a teacher that told us that if she can’t learn it the way she’s teaching it, she’d never learn it,” said Petty. “I told her how that’s not true. Sometimes, you have to teach something a little differently for particular students. Not all students learn in the same way.”

“What we found was that Gordon County has plenty of teachers who have been learning to work with children with all kinds of learning disabilities,” said Petty. “As a result, she is now right at her grade level in areas she had previously been struggling with before coming to the new school.”

As a student of Tolbert Elementary, her daughter is getting care and instruction she personally never got to enjoy when she was young. With more than 700 students at Tolbert Elementary, it is nearly five times the size of her last school in North Carolina. “The school may be larger, but the teachers at Tolbert have really taken the time with Sidney to help her learn how to succeed academically.”

Now, Commercial Truck Driver-to-be Ashely Petty may have received similar care and instruction at Georgia Northwestern, however, when she was a child, life experience alone taught her quickly she would learn in her own way. Originally from Cobb County, Georgia, her biological parents separated when she was only four years old. Her mother would die four years later. She then bounced from group home to group home before ever having a chance of being adopted. From being a troubled teen and being relocated to state youth facilities to going through the adoption process at 13-years-old, Petty learned early that things were simply different for her. She learned that things would never come easy.

“My adopted mother noticed I had signs of dyslexia in high school,” said Petty. “I could figure out the answer to questions. However, I couldn’t prove it on paper. I was inverting numbers whenever I did math problems.”

A 2007 graduate of Fannin County High School in Blue Ridge, Georgia, Petty wasn’t sure what kind of career her future would hold. After graduation, she worked several different jobs, never really gaining any traction in any of them. So, after more than a decade of dealing with foster families, her troubled teen years, and a struggle just to survive high school and now life, she knew she didn’t want the same thing for her daughter.

“Now, while in college, I made myself work harder,” said Petty. “My boyfriend is a diesel mechanic. There were times where when he was working a commercial truck yard, I would come to visit and I would get the chance to get into the cab of a tractor-trailer. With me driving a stick-shift car, working a manual transmission in a tractor-trailer felt pretty natural to me.” Once she took her first drive around the truck yard, Petty was hooked.

Today, just one class away from having a two-year Associate’s Degree, Petty is looking to a brighter future for her and her little family. But, it’s a future that has roots in the past. It turns out after meeting her biological family over the past few years, she learned her biological grandfather was a truck driver. As well, several other members of her family had long-hauls down the highways on a regular basis, themselves.

Now in 2018, Petty is looking for close-to-home options for a commercial truck driving opportunity which will allow her to hit the open road. “I’ve spoken with some local companies just recently and hope to hear from them, soon,” said Petty. “But, I really need to be close to home for my girl. I’m proud of the opportunities I’m now facing, but I want to be able to help my daughter get a jump start on life that was almost impossible for me to have when I was young.”

GNTC offers more than 200 other programs online and on-campus. Campuses are located in Ringgold (Catoosa County Campus), Rome (Floyd County Campus), Calhoun (Gordon County Campus), Rockmart (Polk County Campus), Rock Spring (Walker County Campus), and Dalton (Whitfield Murray Campus).
Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 16,402 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,750 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 8,652 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. The Student Help Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 844-348-7659 or via online chat at https://helpcenter.gntc.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

Manufacturing Job Fair held at GNTC’s Floyd County Campus

Several dozen young to middle-aged adults, dressed casually to business casual, are seen in a large conference room on the Floyd County Campus of GNTC.
A Job Fair was held at GNTC’s Floyd County Campus to showcase area employment opportunities in the manufacturing industry.

 

A Job Fair was held at Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Floyd County Campus in Rome on Tuesday, May 15, to showcase area employment opportunities in the manufacturing industry.

 

The job fair was sponsored by the Greater Rome Existing Industries Association (GREIA), the manufacturing sector of the Rome Floyd Chamber. A 10 a.m. job fair was held for students and a 2 p.m. job fair was held for the public.

 

GNTC staff were also on hand to provide information about admissions, programs of study, and academic support.

 

“It’s a good opportunity for graduating students to find a career as well as those who are unemployed or underemployed,” said Ken Wright, director of Business and Industry Services at the Rome Floyd Chamber.

 

There were representatives and vendors from 2Work Staffing, F&P Georgia, Georgia Pacific, Georgia Highlands College, GNTC, Foss Manufacturing, Kelly Services, Jibe Staffing, Lowes, Mohawk Industries, Neaton of Rome, Randstad, Steel King, Suhner, Syntech, Tyson, Marglen Industries, Pirelli, and Profile Custom Extrusions.

 

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 16,402 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,750 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 8,652 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. The Student Help Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 844-348-7659 or via online chat at https://helpcenter.gntc.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

Summer Semester Starts Soon

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A Gift From Us To You, GNTC Snapchat

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Class of 2018… CONGRATULATIONS!
As your snapping pics of tonight’s events at the Forum River Center, be sure to check out Snapchat for a gift from GNTC to you! (Location services and lens/filters must be enabled.)
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SPRING 2018 Commencement Ceremony

GEORGIA NORTHWESTERN TECHNICAL COLLEGE

SPRING 2018 Commencement Ceremony

Date: Thursday, May 10, at 7 p.m.

Location: The Forum River Center, Rome Ga.

 

Male student holding his award just after receiving it on graduation night in Rome, Georgia.
Philip English receives his associate degree in Automotive Technology during GNTC’s 2017 Spring Commencement Ceremony.

 

Students representing Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) nine county service area will enter for the next stage in life when they cross the stage and turn the tassels during the upcoming 2018 Spring Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 10.

 

The ceremony will take place at the Forum River Center in Rome beginning at 7 p.m.

 

After students, administrators, and faculty march into place during Processional, the Pledge of Allegiance will be conducted by Dick Tanner, director of the Instrumentation and Controls program at GNTC. Invocation will be led by Donny Holmes, director of the Construction Management program at GNTC.

 

Heidi Popham, executive vice president of GNTC, will welcome guests and introduce Stephanie Kinman, GNTC’s 2018 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year, as the keynote commencement speaker for the evening.

 

Stuart Phillips, vice president of Student Affairs at GNTC, will recognize High Honor and Honor graduates. A special recognition for graduates that are veterans, Phi Beta Lambda members, SkillsUSA members, and Student Government Association members will also be led by Phillips.

 

Elizabeth Anderson, vice president of Academic Affairs at GNTC, will present graduates with associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates.

 

Listed are graduates that are participating in the 2018 Spring Commencement Ceremony showing (from left to right) the graduate’s name and program of study. This list does not include students that have graduated, but are not participating in the ceremony, or students that registered for the ceremony after the commencement program was printed:

 

Associate of Applied Science

 

Kelly Marie Adams, Business Management

Yakelin R. Alvarado, Neuromuscular Therapist

Joseph Angeles, Automotive Technology

Viridiana Armstrong, Respiratory Care

Martin Mauricio Arredondo, Business Management

Brittany T. Bailey, Health Information Management Technology

Kassidy F. Barnes, Business Management

Hanna D. Bedwell, Respiratory Care

Carson Danielle Bilbrey, Respiratory Care

Linsey E. Boatwright, Respiratory Care

Dalton Evan Brackett, Construction Management

Charles Burns, Construction Management

James Cargle, Business Management

Derrika C. Carroll, Neuromuscular Therapist

William D. Costlow, Instrumentation and Controls Technician

Gerardo Cruz Fonceca, Industrial Systems Technology

Michaela Davenport, Early Childhood Care and Education

Amber N. Dobson, Health Information Management Technology

Ricardo Dominguez Gaytan, Construction Management

Edward E. Dover, Industrial Systems Technology

Faustino Espinosa Padron, Industrial Systems Technology

Donna Ford, Respiratory Care

Cynthia Baley Fuqua, Paramedicine

Angelica M. Gonzalez, Business Management

Maria S. Gonzalez, Business Management

Betty Jo Grant, Health Information Management Technology

Elisha M. Hall, Computer Support Specialist

Sierra Jade Hartshorn, Health Information Management Technology

Miana Hawkins-Tomkinson, Business Management

Timothy James Hayes, Computer Support Specialist

Christopher Andrew Hooker, Criminal Justice Technology

Alesha RaeAnn Hughes, Business Management

Christopher Hayes Hutchins, Industrial Systems Technology

Sarita Cammon Jackson, Early Childhood Care and Education

William Parker Johnson, Industrial Systems Technology

Lorie Jane Jones, Accounting

Chelsey L. Keasler, Criminal Justice Technology

Misty P. Long, Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Emily McKenzie Maddox, Business Technology

Lisbeth Maldonado, Business Management

Chauney Mason, Health Information Management Technology

Christian Garrett McDonald, Computer Support Specialist

Alexander Moody, Computer Support Specialist

Chasta Moss, Respiratory Care

Madison P. Ohlman, Early Childhood Care and Education

Edgardo D. Ortiz, Industrial Systems Technology

MiKayla M. Owens, Computer Support Specialist

Michelle Louise Oxford, Business Technology

Tesslie B. Parker, Surgical Technology

Daniel J. Parrish, Industrial Systems Technology

Cindy Ziomara Pellecer, Criminal Justice Technology

Richard B. Peterson, Industrial Systems Technology

Courtney D. Pittman, Business Management

Lindsay Renee Pope, Neuromuscular Therapist

Adela M. Ramirez, Business Management

Andres A. Ramirez, Construction Management

Bradley Ramirez, Business Management

Christopher D. Reddish, Networking Specialist

Marisela A. Reyes, Health Information Management Technology

Rodrigo Reyes-Cruz, Industrial Systems Technology

Dereck William Roberts, Networking Specialist

Walker T. Rogers, Web Site Design/Development

Tiffany N. Romine, Early Childhood Care and Education

Brandon T. Ross, Construction Management

Juan D. Ruiz, Construction Management

Cassandria Nycole Rutledge, Social Work Assistant

Emily F. Slade, Respiratory Care

Christy J. Smith, Criminal Justice Technology

Jacqueline Michelle Smith, Respiratory Care

Melinda Ann Spires, Criminal Justice Technology

Pepper Kay Stanfield, Business Management

Leslie B. Sullins, Respiratory Care

Amber L. Uptain, Criminal Justice Technology

Andres D. Valencia, Business Management

Rebecca Ann Vass, Health Information Management Technology

Celestia A. Waits, Business Management

Keiyana L. Ware, Respiratory Care

Haley N. White, Respiratory Care

Sheri A. Yapko, Business Technology

 

Associate of Science in Nursing

 

Crystal Anderson

Jennifer Armellino

Ashley Bruce

Courtney Cochran

Nicholas A. Cochran

Gabriela Ramirez Diaz

Emily Edgeman

Seth D. Gamblin

Elizabeth Martinez Gomez

Gwendoloin Denise Hannah

Jennifer Carol Henry

Angela Pearle Jeffers

Amber Nicole Johns

Laura Ray Long

Randall C. McDonald

Jennifer LaChristia Parham

Dana Nichole Phy

 

Diploma

 

Caris A. Barton, Neuromuscular Therapist

Irma G. Chavez, Business Technology

Rhonda K. Coker, Business Technology

Sierra D. Crew, Neuromuscular Therapist

James L. Daniel, Paramedicine

Stacy Lane Daughtry, Neuromuscular Therapist

Andrew H. Denmon, Paramedicine

Justin Lee Ditlefsen, Electrical Systems Technology

Josie Caroline Forson, Cosmetology

Joshua Cody Godwin, Networking Specialist

Emily K. Hall, Business Technology

Leslie Harris, Networking Specialist

Tony R. Ingram Jr., Air Conditioning Technology

Bronson C. Jones, Air Conditioning Technology

Robert Wade Kimmel, Cosmetology

Leslie Michael Lay, Social Work Assistant

Isaac J. Long, Welding and Joining Technology

Edwin D. Lopez, Computer Support Specialist

Lacey C. Lummus, Welding and Joining Technology

Melvin Mitchell, Electrical Systems Technology

Holly N. Nichols, Neuromuscular Therapist

Dylan James Perry, Welding and Joining Technology

Kimberly D. Riddle, Business Technology

Tiffany Ann Rosales, Criminal Justice Technology

Aiseh Smith, Business Management

Mitchell Sean Towns, Industrial Systems Technology

Justin Kyle Wallace, Welding and Joining Technology

Anna Winnette Wilkins, Cosmetology

Billie Wright, Industrial Systems Technology

David L. Yarbrough, Industrial Systems Technology

 

Technical Certificate of Credit

 

Ashland Andrea Adams, Medical Coding

Alexis Brooke Bennett, Early Childhood Care and Education Basics

Skylar M. Boyken, Hair Designer

Jessika A. Branam, Phlebotomy Technician

Veronica L. Cameron, Early Childhood Care and Education Basics

Peter Carrera, PC Repair and Network Technician

Candy Jean Cason, Human Resource Management Specialist

Madison M. Combs, Medical Front Office Assistant

Emilee Elizabeth Crane, Hair Designer

Kristen Brooke Dobbs, Medical Front Office Assistant

Jenifer Liset Escalante Morales Medical Front Office Assistant

April N. Gray, Phlebotomy Technician

Sarah R. Guffey, Phlebotomy Technician

Kristen Nikole Hernandez, Health Care Science

Alexis L. Jackson, Medical Front Office Assistant

Alexis R. Lewis, Hair Designer

Jessica Grace McElwee, Hair Designer

Leslie A. Meza, Phlebotomy Technician

Antavia Ragine Moten, Child Development Specialist

Mequitta S. Owens, Central Sterile Supply Processing Technician

Evangelina Perez, Medical Front Office Assistant

Lauren A. Pike, Microsoft Excel Application Professional

Brittany S. Poole, Hair Designer

Avery Grace Ramos, Medical Front Office Assistant

Dedra R. Roberson, Medical Front Office Assistant

Toni Ashley Rogers, Early Childhood Care and Education Basics

Adriana H. Silva, Health Care Science

Ambar Velazquez, Supervisor/Manager Specialist

Nicole L. Wilkerson, Project SUCCESS Manufacturing Specialist

Ciera Danielle Witcher, Phlebotomy Technician

 

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 16,402 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,750 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 8,652 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. The Student Help Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 844-348-7659 or via online chat at https://helpcenter.gntc.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

GNTC Holds GED® Commencement Ceremony on the Gordon County Campus in Calhoun

Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) held its GED® Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 3, for students who have earned their General Educational Development diplomas®.

The ceremony was held at the Conference Center on GNTC’s Gordon County Campus in Calhoun to accommodate students and families from all nine counties of GNTC’s service area.

Dozens of graduates in the front row of their GED® Graduation Ceremony are applauding as they wear their black caps and gowns.
The 2017-18 graduates applaud to thank their families and friends during GNTC’s GED® Graduation and Awards Ceremony in Calhoun.
Christin Silvers (l) Mikala Soi (r)
Christin Silvers (left) of Calhoun and Mikala Soi (right) of Calhoun line up before Processional.
Jose Cruz
Jose Cruz of Dalton crosses the stage to receive his GED® diploma.
William Nichols (r) Pete McDowell (l)
William Nichols (right), GNTC’s 2018 EAGLE Delegate, stands with Pete McDonald (left), president of GNTC. Nichols was the featured speaker for the ceremony.

The evening began with a welcome and introductions by Kerri Hosmer, vice president of Adult Education at GNTC. Hosmer congratulated the graduates and thanked the organizations that provided GED® scholarships.

Those organizations include: Calhoun-Gordon Council for a Literate Society, Catoosa Citizens for Literacy, Chattooga County Literacy Council, Conasauga Drug Court Program, Dalton-Whitfield Community Foundation, Endless Opportunities, LaFayette Presbyterian Church, North Georgia EMC, Polk County Rotary Club, Rome-Floyd CCCY, Rome Rotary Club, Shaw Industries, Tallatoona CAP, United Way, and WMC Rotary Club.

  1. Pete McDonald, president of GNTC, thanked the friends and families of graduates that were in the audience.

“It’s a long road for some and it always takes tenacity, studying, and showing up for class,” said McDonald. “I also want to recognize all the family members and friends here this evening, students need support to achieve their goals.”

William Nichols, GNTC’s 2018 EAGLE Delegate, delivered the keynote address. Nichols is a member of the National Adult Education Honor Society and was chosen as one of eight finalists for the State EAGLE Award by the Technical College System of Georgia.

 

“Once I earned my GED diploma, it opened up many doors for me,” said Nichols. “Right there on that table is your diploma that is a key that is going to open up doors for you.”

 

GNTC is an official General Educational Development® Testing Center and a site for computer-based GED® Testing in partnership with Pearson Vue, GED® Testing Services, and the Technical College System of Georgia. The mission of GNTC’s Adult Education program is to enable every adult learner in the service delivery area to acquire the necessary basic skills to be able to compete successfully in today’s workplace, strengthen family foundations, and exercise full citizenship.

 

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 16,402 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,750 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 8,652 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. The Student Help Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 844-348-7659 or via online chat at https://helpcenter.gntc.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

Spring 2018 Graduation at GNTC on May 10

Logistics of Life in the Spotlight: GNTC and the Gerber Baby Family

(Northwest Georgia) – As an anticipated member of Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s first full graduating class of Logistics and Supply Chain Management this winter, 27-year-old Jason Warren is one proud man.

However, that’s not what has him smiling the most these days. The Dalton, Georgia resident is also a National Guard reservist, a husband of five years to his wife, Cortney, and now a soon-to-be college graduate. So, that’s plenty to be proud of and keep you smiling, right?

But none of that is what makes Jason and his wife, Cortney, the happiest. That honor lies in the miles of smiles their 21-month-old Lucas leaves in his wake each and every day. And, as of this spring, millions of people around the world know exactly why.

21-month-old Lucas Warren poses in front of the camera for a waist-up shot wearing his blue and white button down shirt with bow tie. His mother is sitting on the floor in the background.
“While taking a moment from play with his mom, Lucas Warren of Dalton, Georgia turns his attention to the photographer for a quick pose. Warren is the 2018 Gerber Spokesbaby as selected by the Gerber Products Company. More than 140,000 photos were submitted by families nominating their children for a chance to be named the Gerber Spokesbaby of the Year.”

You see, the Gerber Products Company selected Lucas to be their 2018 Gerber Spokesbaby in an online contest earlier this year. As a result, Lucas is the first-ever special needs child to be selected for the honor. He was selected as the winner from more than 140,000 photos that were submitted for a chance at the distinction.

The original Gerber Spokesbaby, which still graces the covers of Gerber products worldwide, is Ann Turner Cook. Cook, now 91 years old, spent most of her life as a school teacher in Florida. Being able to successfully make it through his school years is The Warren Family’s hope for Lucas.

“As a father, seeing your child succeed in life and go to school, that’s what I’m looking forward to,” said Jason in a NBC Today show interview announcing Gerber’s selection of Lucas. Of course, Jason is now getting the opportunity to lead by example for his child who lives with Down Syndrome.

21-month-old Lucas Warren is sitting in his dad's lap in a GNTC Logistics and Supply Chain Management classroom on the Catoosa County Campus.
“GNTC Logistics and Supply Chain Management student Jason Warren poses with his son, Lucas Warren in a Logistics and Supply Chain Management classroom on the Catoosa County Campus. Lucas is the 2018 Gerber Spokesbaby as selected by the Gerber Products Company. More than 140,000 photos were submitted by families nominating their children for a chance to be named the Gerber Spokesbaby of the Year.”

Long before Lucas came along, Jason faced his own struggles. Jason attempted to enroll in college just after his graduation from Ringgold High School in 2009. “I went to another college in the area and ended up having to drop out to help my family,” said Jason. “I guess I just needed to wait for the right time.”

The right time was 2016. Jason was driving tractor-trailers for a living. “With the job taking me all over the United States and Canada, it kept me away from home a lot,” said Jason. “I was looking all over for colleges teaching logistics, given it was a logical step from driving a tractor-trailer, when some of my friends said that it was offered right here at home at GNTC.”

At the time, Jason and Cortney Warren had been married for just three years. Lucas was still half a year away from coming into the world. That’s when Jason would meet Ms. Grace Beam, Director of the Logistics and Supply Chain Management program on the Catoosa County Campus of GNTC. “Jason was one of our first students in this fairly new program,” said Beam. “From the start, I could tell he was really cut out for this kind of career.”

After he graduates from GNTC with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Jason says he will consider continuing his education through Georgia Military College. “They offer a Bachelor’s Degree in my field,” said Jason. “It may have to wait until after next year, though.” Jason may face a military deployment by way of his National Guard commitment in 2019. He’s expected to graduate from GNTC in December.

As for Jason’s wife, her educational goals are inspired by her communication efforts with their only child. Cortney is looking into possible programs that would help her with learning American Sign Language. “Lucas knows a few words by sign language right now,” proudly added Cortney. “We do some signing with him. Like, he knows how to say mommy and daddy in sign language. I just want to be ready to help him.”

But, what about Lucas? What does their soon-to-be two-year-old want to be when he grows up? “Well, he has a little toy screwdriver he carries around and he loves to wear bowties,” said Cortney. “I’m pretty sure he thinks he’s pretending to be a doctor.”

When Lucas isn’t sporting his winning smile, he can actually say a few words. “He’s been saying ‘dada’ and trying to say ‘momma’,” said Cortney. “He tries to say what sounds like the names of our dogs, ‘Abby Dog’ and ‘Lady’.” Lucas also loves to cheer on the Georgia Bulldogs when his daddy starts to cheer, “Gooooooo Dawgs!” Lucas tries to reply with a very happy, “Woof, woof, woof.”

Although it seems Jason, Cortney, and Lucas appear to be headed to bigger and brighter things these days, it was less than two years ago that they weren’t sure what the rest of their lives would be like. “We didn’t find out he had Down Syndrome until after his birth,” said Cortney. “The day he was born the doctors told us he had a couple of holes in his heart and that he also may have Down.” That diagnosis would be confirmed two weeks later.

The Warren’s will tell you today that their biggest worry was always how would people treat their child. “I was always afraid he’d be bullied or people would be scared of him,” said Cortney. “But we’ve learned so much from Lucas. We learn more from him than he does from us. In the end, Lucas really wins people over wherever we go.”

After travelling to New York City for everything from television interviews to photo shoots due to their newly-found fame, the world truly has been won over by Lucas. “It’s been hectic, but so special,” said Jason. “There are places all over the world still writing articles about Lucas and his being named the Gerber Baby. It’s just went viral. We’ve been contacted by people from around the world. Usually, it’s parents of special needs kids just scared because they weren’t sure what things awaited their special children in the future. Then, they saw Lucas’ story and saw how brave he has been and it gives them hope to bring their kids out into the world, too.”

If you ever get the pleasure to spend time with Lucas Warren and people ask you what he is like, you’ll have lots to say. You’ll say he’s outgoing, he loves to laugh and to smile, he really likes to play, and he enjoys eating chicken and his Gerber pouches of Apple, Kale, and Fig. “He’s your typical toddler,” says Jason. But the one thing you’ll almost forget to mention, because of the way Lucas wins you over, is that he has Downs Syndrome.

 

21-month-old Lucas Warren sits on a brown-carpeted floor. He is wearing his blue and white button down shirt with bow tie. He is also wearing blue jeans, tennis shoes, and a big smile.
“21-month-old Lucas Warren of Dalton, Georgia is the 2018 Gerber Spokesbaby as selected by the Gerber Products Company. More than 140,000 photos were submitted by families nominating their children for a chance to be named the Gerber Spokesbaby of the Year.”

 

“He’s going to be really excited because he is having a superhero-theme birthday party this summer,” said Jason.

Well, Warren Family, on behalf of anyone who has met Lucas, we’re pretty sure we already know who the true superhero is.

GNTC offers more than 200 other programs online and on-campus. Campuses are located in Ringgold (Catoosa County Campus), Rome (Floyd County Campus), Calhoun (Gordon County Campus), Rockmart (Polk County Campus), Rock Spring (Walker County Campus), and Dalton (Whitfield Murray Campus).

 
Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 14,151 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,956 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 6,195 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For more information about GNTC, visit us at GNTC.edu or contact a Student Help Center on any one of our six campus locations at 866-983-4682. You can also see more information at the college’s social media sites Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

 

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