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NW Georgia Sheriff’s Office Takes Challenge In Important Direction

Local College, Middle School Student In The Headlines

Deputies and actress inside doorway of a home.
“A still frame from the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department Lip Sync Challenge video shows Meliyah Davis holding on to a sheriff’s deputy played by Pickens County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Kalin England.”

(Northwest Georgia) – Nearing 11 million views alone on Facebook in less than two weeks, the nationwide craze of police forces taking part in the “Lip Sync Challenge” has caught everyone’s attention. However, the most popular production appears to have been done right here in the Northwest Georgia mountains. And, it has the students of one college taking notice.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College serves nearly 30 high schools across nine counties in Northwest Georgia. It’s a college which is fairly well known among the teens in the region. An institution which teaches Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement, Georgia Northwestern makes an unexpected appearance in a viral video setting a serious tone in social media. It’s a production that has put domestic violence in the spotlight this month.

 

Young girl posing for picture outdoors. She's wearing a pink bow and pink t-shirt.
“Meliyah Davis starred in a viral video production of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department Lip Sync Challenge. The video focused on the serious issue of domestic violence.”

 

It’s all in the wardrobe of 12-year-old Teasley Middle School student Meliyah Davis. When Meliyah begins school this week in Canton, Georgia, she may end up being a very noticeable face. Meliyah’s aunt, Pickens County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Christine Hedmann, actually recruited her for the filming. A Field Training Officer for the department, Hedmann also makes in appearance in the now famous video.

In Meliyah’s scenes in the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department Lip Sync Challenge Video, she is wearing a Georgia Northwestern Technical College t-shirt. “I liked the color and design of the shirt,” said Meliyah on why she wore the shirt. “I really want to be a police officer, though. I want to work in the jail.”

Georgia Northwestern Technical College offers the Law Enforcement Academy program every semester on the Gordon County Campus and the Criminal Justice program every semester on the Gordon County Campus, Walker County Campus and Whitfield Murray Campus.

“What these law enforcement professionals did with this video is important in helping bring the issue to light,” said Law Enforcement Academy Director James Pledger. “Domestic violence knows no social-economic boundaries. Men, women, and children can be victims. It’s a continuous cycle that is hard to break. We take this very serious and train on it diligently at the (GNTC) academy.”

With domestic violence on the rise in the United States, there couldn’t be a better time to take advantage of a viral trend. “One in three women and one in four men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime,” according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Nearly 20 people every minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.”

 

Girl sitting on wooden floor in a bedroom; leaning against a wall.
“A still frame from the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department Lip Sync Challenge video shows Meliyah Davis sitting in the floor. She plays the daughter of a family dealing with an abusive parent in the home.”

 

In the video, Meliyah plays the daughter of a family dealing with an abusive parent in the home.  “I think that people shouldn’t be abusive,” said Meliyah. “The victims should call for help.” Hedmann, Meliyah’s aunt, is the deputy driving the squad car in the online hit. She and her partner are responding to a call about possible domestic violence coming from a home.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Their website is TheHotline.org. The website offers an around-the-clock chat option. Or, you can also call the hotline at 1−800−799−7233. The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

So, what do Meliyah’s friends and family think of her overnight stardom? “My best friend, Sanai, thought it was awesome,” said Meliyah. “My family is proud and thinks I did a great job.” Meliyah’s grandmother, Sharon Davis, works in the Financial Aid department at Georgia Northwestern Technical College.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College offers the Law Enforcement Academy program every semester on the Gordon County Campus and the Criminal Justice program every semester on the Gordon County Campus, Walker County Campus and Whitfield Murray Campus. To learn more about these programs, you can call 866-983-4682 or visit the college at GNTC.edu, as well as on GNTC’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube channels.

GNTC offers more than 200 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.  GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

Today Is The Final Day For FALL 2018!

European Officers Tour Law Enforcement At GNTC

Investigating Differences In Policing On Two Continents

 

Six people standing in front of police car as they pose side by side for a picture.
“Taking a break from a tour at the Georgia Northwestern Technical College Firing Range in Calhoun, Georgia are, from left, Calhoun (GA) Police Department Lieutenant David Nelson, French police officer Lydie Stempfle, Georgia Northwestern Technical College staffer Fabrice Sainton, French police officer Alain Stempfle, Georgia Northwestern Technical College Law Enforcement Academy Director Jim Pledger, and Calhoun (GA) Police Department Criminal Investigations Department Assistant Supervisor Tom Petty.”

 

(Northwest Georgia) – Alain and Lydie Stempfle started one of the longest days of their lives by shooting across France at speeds of nearly 200 miles per hours to catch a flight in Paris, France. They would then spend the day flying 30,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean for nine hours at speeds nearing 500 miles per hour before touching down in Georgia.

As amazing as that race around the planet appears to be, none of that trip would be the most interesting part of their mid-summer’s journey.

The Stempfle family came to the states to visit life-long friend, Fabrice Sainton. A staffer at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, Sainton works closely with the college’s security and Law Enforcement Academy. But more than 30 years ago, he was a young man entering the police academy for the Police Nationale (National Police) in France with his friend, Alain.

Earlier this month, Alain, his wife, Lydie, and Fabrice got to visit with Georgia Northwestern Technical College Law Enforcement Academy Director Jim Pledger at the Calhoun Police Department firing range in Gordon County, Georgia. Right away, there was a noticeable difference that caught the eyes of the visiting officers.

“There’s just a big difference in the equipment available to a police officer here,” said Alain. “The equipment officers have at their disposal is more intense. Rifles, heavy duty equipment, very high-powered patrol cars are all prevalent here. Officers aren’t so heavily equipped in France. And, the cars are definitely smaller.”

During the tour, Alain would get to sit behind the wheel of a Dodge Charger Calhoun (GA) Police Department Cruiser. The standard police version of the Charger comes complete with a 370-horsepower engine. The standard patrol vehicle for the Police Nationale in Vannes, France is a Peugeot 307. The much smaller patrol vehicle has 110 horsepower when it comes off of the Peugeot assembly line in Sochaux, France.

Man sits behind steering wheel of police car.
“Vannes, France Police Brigadier Alain Stempfle sits inside of a Calhoun (GA) Police Department patrol car at the Gordon County Firing Range utilized by Georgia Northwestern Technical College.”

Calhoun (GA) Police Department Sergeant Tom Petty spent some time with the tour at the area firing range, as well. Petty, who serves as the Assistant Supervisor of the Criminal Investigations Division, is also the Firearms Range Master for the department. “We have weapons available in our (patrol) cars,” said Lydie. “However, we have two, or sometimes, three officers in a car when on patrol. The policing is a little different. We never have only one officer in a car or at any situation at any time.”

Lydie, a 24-year veteran, and her husband, Alain, a 31-year veteran of the Police Nationale (National Police) assigned to the city of Vannes, France police force, both got to feel some of the training experience future law enforcement officers encounter at Georgia Northwestern. Both husband and wife hold the ranks of Brigadier (Sergeant) within the force. However, Mrs. Stempfle will soon become a Supervisor (Chief). “She is the chief whether we are at work or home,” quickly answered Mr. Stempfle with a smile.

 

As for working on patrol, Alain rides a motorcycle in the force’s escort division. Lydie is in a patrol car. However, both see big differences in how they work with the public and how U.S. officers do the job. “It’s just a different society. It’s a different way of thinking,” explained Alain. “When someone gets pulled over in France, there isn’t a defensive posturing by the person who is being pulled over or questioned. If there is a police situation, the people appear to be more willing to help or assist the officer.”

In the couple’s combined 55 years of police force experience, only the husband has ever used his service weapon in the line of duty. “During a traffic stop, the motorist fired his weapon at my patrol,” said Alain. “It was the only time I ever fired my weapon on the job.”

Four people watching firearms instruction outdoors.
“Georgia Northwestern Technical College Law Enforcement Academy Director Jim Pledger, left, displays some of the gun safety procedures his students learn during his program. From left are, Pledger, French Police Officer Lydie Stempfle, French Police Officer Alain Stempfle, and Georgia Northwestern Technical College staffer Fabrice Sainton.”

When it comes to being on patrol, Pledger says he teaches his students that you need to learn how to properly control a situation. “We are teaching students when it is necessary, and when it is not necessary, to take any action,” said Pledger. “Knowing when to use force, and recognizing the amount of force necessary, is a huge part of doing the job well.”

Georgia Northwestern Technical College offers the Law Enforcement Academy program every semester on the Gordon County Campus in Calhoun, Georgia. To learn more about the program, you can call 866-983-4682. For information online, visit the college at GNTC.edu, as well as on GNTC’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube channels. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and an equal opportunity institute.

GNTC offers more than 200 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.  GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

GNTC Awards Scholarships to 32 Regional High School Graduates

The Foundation at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) awarded scholarships to one qualified student at each of the 27 high schools and five college and career academies in the northwest Georgia region.

 

GNTC faculty, staff, and Foundation Trustees were available at many of the schools to present each scholarship winner with a $250 award to help pay for the expenses of the first year of college.

 

GNTC employees, on all six campuses, donate to the Foundation and fundraising events are held throughout the year to help raise the resources for these scholarships for students in GNTC’s nine county service area.

 

Front of the administration building on the Floyd County Campus. A blue sky and trees with white blooms flank the double-door front entrance.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Floyd County Campus in Rome.

 

The winners of the 2018 GNTC Foundation Scholarships are Octavian Jeffers, Armuchee HS; Hope Bailey, Calhoun HS and Calhoun College and Career Academy; Micayla Terry, Cedartown HS; Jackie Jordan Mosley, Chattooga HS; Lane Hefner, Coahulla Creek HS; Bradley Mikle Agan, Coosa HS; Eric Counts, Dade County HS; Kevin Diaz, Dalton HS; Keilan Shorter, Floyd College and Career Academy; Emily Hunter, Gordon Central HS; Bryson Miller, Gordon County College and Career Academy; Makayla Gifford, Gordon Lee HS; Olivia Reed, Heritage HS; Katelyn Dixon, Lafayette HS; Haleigh Camp, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe HS; John Schreier, Model HS; Dustin Copeland, Murray County HS; Fernando Rojo, Morris Innovative HS; Jordan Lunsford, North Murray HS; Lucy Chairez, Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy; Emily Gomez-Rodriguez, Northwest Whitfield HS; Magali Martinez-Jarquin, Pepperell HS; Lauren Renee Caldwell, Phoenix HS; Nicole Wilkerson, Polk County College and Career Academy; Julie Robinson, Ridgeland HS; Joseph Thornton, Ringgold HS; Connor Lindsay Tant, Rockmart HS; Carl Moye, Rome HS; Steven Price, Sonoraville HS; Jacob Pendley, Southeast Whitfield HS; and Jarrett Dakota VanGurp, Trion HS.

 

“We are honored to be able to offer this scholarship each year to students who plan to continue their education at GNTC,” said Michelle Beatson, GNTC’s Foundation administrator. “Georgia Northwestern’s recruitment services, dual enrollment programs, and guidance counselors at each high school are instrumental in educating students about the importance of obtaining a postsecondary education.”

 

The Chattooga High School Alumni Scholarship also was presented to seven students at Chattooga High School this year. This scholarship was made possible by an alumni of Chattooga HS and is scheduled to continue every year. The GNTC Foundation awarded the $500 Chattooga Alumni Scholarships to the following Class of 2018 graduates: Eli Abernathy, Morgan Leigh Hamby, Konstance Knox, Leland Ray Trammell, Taylor Williams, Roberto Villagomez III, and Sarah Yarbrough.

 

The Foundation at GNTC helps fund academic and support programs at the college throughout the year and has helped thousands of students in the northwest Georgia region attend college.

 

The Foundation Trustees are Valerie Brown, Whitfield County;  Linda Case, Dade County;  Jay LeGrande, Polk County; Sherrie Patterson, Murray County; Damon Raines, Walker County; Becky Redd, Gordon County;  Mitch Sanford, Whitfield County;  Jay Still, Whitfield County; Scott Tucker, Floyd County; Carolyn Walker, Walker County; Doris White, Walker County; and Jason Winters, Chattooga County.

 

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. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

Dual Enrollment Family’s Latest NW Georgia Graduate

Dual Enrollment family from Catoosa County, Georgia and the story of their latest dual graduate!
#getfocusedgethired
Courtesy: Catoosa County News

Elaine Craig Press Release

Member of Sweet 16 Lady Cats Hits Hollywood

Lilburn, Georgia’s Watkins Gets Role In Summer Hit

 

Four women's basketball players in maroon and white uniforms stand with two actors on Georgia movie set.
“Former Georgia Northwestern student-athlete, Kenisha “Scooby” Watkins, number 13 in the photo, poses with three other teammates who were supporting cast members in the recently released movie, “Uncle Drew.” Sitting in the wheelchair in the front is former NBA star Nate Robinson. Standing behind Robinson is current NBA standout Kyrie Irving.”

(Gwinnett County, Georgia) – When professional basketball legends like Reggie Miller and Lisa Leslie follow your Instagram account, you know you’ve had some success. For former Georgia Northwestern Lady Cats guard Kenisha (Scooby) Watkins, that fame has come by way of a summer blockbuster.

Earning her way into a supporting role in the new movie, “Uncle Drew,” Watkins plays the role of a member of a women’s basketball team. This brush with fame brought the Lilburn, Georgia product face-to-face with former and current pro players like Miller, Leslie, Shaquille O’Neal, Nate Robinson, and five-time NBA All-Star, NBA World Champion, and the number one draft pick in 2011, Kyrie Irving.

“It wasn’t part of the movie or anything, but I got to play some one-on-one with Kyrie on the set,” said Watkins. “That was my favorite part of it all. And, getting to meet and joke around with the legends at the shoot.” The movie shoot took place in a small country town about a year ago. However, it has been six years since the 5-foot-3 guard was a bit of a local legend in Northwest Georgia hoops.

Watkins first made waves on the hardwood in high school. After helping her Berkmar (GA) High School Patriot teams make the GHSA State Playoffs her junior and senior seasons in 2010 and 2011, Watkins would really garner attention on the collegiate floor as one of the cast members of Georgia Northwestern’s first-ever qualifier for the NJCAA National Tournament. “That was a really special time in my life,” said Watkins of her freshman year with Georgia Northwestern. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Huge shots from Watkins down the stretch of the 2012 NJCAA Region XVII Conference Championship would help punch the college’s historic trip to nationals. “She was a little pistol for us,” said former Georgia Northwestern Lady Cats Assistant Head Coach, Robbie Nash. “She really caught fire in that game. She hit a run of late three-pointers that really put it away for us.” The Lady Cats would see that historic 2011-12 campaign come to an end when they would run into NJCAA #6 Montgomery College-Rockville in a “Sweet 16” game just outside of Washington, D.C.

Two people playing basketball on a movie set in a parking lot.
“Dressed as the fictitious elderly basketball player “Uncle Drew,” NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving is seen here playing a quick game of one-on-one with former Georgia Northwestern student-athlete Kenisha “Scooby” Watkins.”

From playing for a collegiate Sweet 16 contender at Georgia Northwestern to lighting up the big screen, Watkins has always had a little “Hollywood” in her personality. “She would always tell the coaches that if her shoes look good, she’d play good,” said former Georgia Northwestern Lady Cats Assistant Coach Consuelo Saxton. “Scooby liked to dance around the locker room and bang on the lockers before each game. That’s how she hyped herself up.”

Now, 25, Watkins is still that charismatic small town Georgia girl. But now, while she is still working on her game, she is also working on a career in the dental industry. “I think I want to become a hygienist,” said Watkins. “It’s a new step in my life and I’m looking forward to all the greater things still to come.”

Close-up head shots of Kenisha Watkins and Shaquille O'Neal standing right next to each other.
“Former Georgia Northwestern student-athlete, Kenisha “Scooby” Watkins with NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal during a shoot for the recently released movie, “Uncle Drew.”

The movie, “Uncle Drew,” opened in theaters in North America on June 29. The film stars comedian Lil Rel Howery who plays Coach Dax. He coaches a street ball basketball team with hopes of winning the Rucker Classic Street Ball Tournament held in Harlem, New York. After a series of unfortunate setbacks, the coach loses his players and needs help. He then stumbles upon street ball legend, Uncle Drew. After convincing Drew (Kyrie Irving) to take to the court one final time, they hit the road to find all of Drew’s old teammates from the prime of his career.

For more information on Georgia Northwestern Technical College, you can call 866-983-4682. For information online, visit the college at GNTC.edu, as well as on GNTC’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube channels. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and an equal opportunity institute.

GNTC offers more than 200 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.  GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

GNTC Alum Ryan Fincher invited to Welding Competition in Beijing, China

Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) alumnus Ryan Fincher of Cedartown was selected by the American Welding Society (AWS) to attend the China International Welding Competition 2018 in Beijing.

 

Man standing in front of welding bays inside a building. He is wearing black baseball cap with plaid shirt and jeans. He is wearing a gold medal around his neck.
Ryan Fincher of Cedartown poses for a picture with the gold medal he won at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in 2017. Fincher is GNTC’s first ever SkillsUSA national champion.

 

Fincher’s trip to China will be part of his preparation to compete in the four part Team USA Welder Selection competition that decides which SkillsUSA welder will represent the U.S. in the international WorldSkills Welding competition that takes place every two years.

 

Fincher was selected to be the American representative at the competition in China by the AWS. He will leave for China on July 22 and will return to the U.S. on July 31. The American Welding Society will cover all of his expenses.

 

As a GNTC student, Fincher won the gold medal in the Welding Competition at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in 2017 and became the college’s first ever national champion. Fincher graduated from GNTC in 2017.

 

“Winning the gold medal in SkillsUSA’s National Championships felt like a huge accomplishment,” said Fincher. “It felt pretty awesome being able to compete with some of the best welders in the nation and coming out on top.”

 

Man in blue jacket with gold sleeves and wearing a welding mask is posing for a picture of himself holding a welding torch.
GNTC alumnus Ryan Fincher of Cedartown works on a project in the Welding lab on GNTC’s Floyd County Campus in Rome.

 

Fincher was also a top six finalist for American Welding Society’s U.S. Invitational Weld Trials in 2017. The Weld Trials are part of the American Welding Society’s process to select the SkillsUSA World Team Welder; the U.S. representative in the international welding competition against the best WorldSkills welders from around the globe.

 

“It felt pretty awesome when I found out I made the top six,” said Fincher. “Like I had accomplished something really big.”

 

The next WorldSkills Competition will take place Aug. 22-27, 2019, in Kazan, Russia.

 

Every two years, the AWS invites the top 48 welding competitors from the National SkillsUSA Championships to compete in a four-stage competition that will decide the SkillsUSA World Team Welder. All competitors were state champions and have competed at the national level for SkillsUSA. Fincher was one of the six national finalists that was chosen to participate in the second stage of the competition.

 

Fincher is the only U.S. competitor that competed in the top six in 2017 that is going to compete in the Team USA Welder Selection competition again. This is why he was invited to China, according to Matt Hayden, instructor of Metals and Welding at Cedartown High School and instructor of Welding and Joining Technology at GNTC.

 

“Ryan is not just a great student and great welder, he is a great young man,” said Hayden “All of the success that he has had is the result of his work ethic and I fully expect him to be very successful in life in everything he does.”

 

Hayden also serves on the education committee and competition committee for the American Welding Society.

 

The competition in Beijing that Fincher is attending is being held as part of the process to select China’s World Team Welder. Fincher will be taking part in the competition in China as practice for the four stage Team USA Welder Selection competition. Ray Connolly the chief welding expert for the U.S. will accompany Fincher to Beijing. Connolly won a gold medal at the WorldSkills Championship in Montreal, Canada in 1999.

 

“At our top six and top three competitions we always invite different countries to bring some of their best competitors over to build relationships with those countries,” said Hayden. “So that is what China is doing in return and this will be more practice for Ryan for the Team USA Welder Selection competition.”

 

“This is also the first time we have sent someone to China for this,” continued Hayden.

 

The first stage Team USA Welder Selection competition begins with the AWS U.S. Invitational Pre-Trials. Contestants are given a set of WorldSkills Competition projects to complete in their home states. The projects are scored by the AWS Skills committee and the students that submit the top six projects are invited to participate in the next stage.

 

The top six pre-trial finalists then compete for the top three positions at the AWS U.S. Invitational Weld Trials. The top six and top three compete along with other competitors invited from other countries.

 

“It builds relationships with those countries and the competitors get to know each other fairly well,” said Hayden. “At our last top six completion China sent their top two competitors and we have also had competitors from Australia, England, Canada, and Russia. So we always have other countries participate in the U.S. competitions.”

 

The SkillsUSA World Team Welder will be selected from the top three finalists at the AWS TeamUSA Finals and will receive a $40,000 scholarship in addition to representing the U.S. in the WorldSkills Welding Competition.

 

Participants must be active SkillsUSA members who are enrolled in, or have graduated, from a welding program and must be younger than 23 during the year of the WorldSkills Welding Competition.

 

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. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

Get Focused. Get Hired. Apply For Fall 2018 TODAY!

Georgia Northwestern Technical College offers you six campuses across Northwest Georgia. More than 200 programs are available to you right now! Take classes on-campus and online. Get Focused. Get Hired.
GNTC.edu / 866-983-4682

Standing Tall In The Kitchen: A Military Vet’s Story

Georgia Northwestern’s Sedric Floyd and His New Dreams 
 
 
Culinary students in white uniform using mixing bowls in a kitchen.
“Georgia Northwestern Technical College Culinary Arts student Sedric Floyd of Rome, Georgia adds ingredients to a special muffin recipe he prepared during class at the Woodlee Building on the college’s Floyd County Campus.”

 
(Northwest Georgia)  It was in a ditch in Cartersville, Georgia eight years ago this month when the life of Georgia Northwestern Technical College Culinary Arts student Sedric Floyd would unexpectedly change forever. 
 
It was just after midnight when the United States Air Force veteran was headed for work at Shaw Industries Plant 15. Another vehicle ran a stop sign and collided with Floyd’s motorcycle knocking him unconscious and launching his body more than 90 feet through the air.  
 
After sliding another 40 feet on the ground and into a nearby ditchFloyd would regain consciousness and find part of his left leg lying next to his head. “I could see it,” recalled Floyd. “It just destroyed the left side of my body. The crash completely damaged my nerves on that side.” He would spend the next three weeks in a coma. 
 
“When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a BMX bike rider,” said a smiling Floyd. “I loved doing all the tricks. I especially liked doing the ‘vert’ stuff, like doing the stunts in the air. I loved it.” But after a youth filled with dreams and eight years of military experience that took him around the world, the Northwest Georgia military vet who served as an Aerospace Ground Equipment (AGE) mechanic would now have to rebuild his life… and build a new career. 
 
On the night of July 28, 2010, Floyd would be rushed to Atlanta Medical Center. In the months to follow, he would spend time at Emory University Hospital for his wound care, and then another stay at Atlanta Medical Center for rehabilitation. After the disastrous events of that summer, Floyd would finally be able to return home just before Thanksgiving. However, he’d quickly learn that the accident was just part of the battle. 
 
After the wreck and all the rehab, I had PTSD and physical pain to deal with,” said Floyd. “I had to sit in the bariatric chamber at Redmond for months. Three hours a day, four or five days a week, for about two months. It was a process which put my body under high oxygenated pressure to help heal my wounds. At that point, I was just sort of out in the world. I mean, dealing with the loss of a limb. I really felt like I was just hanging on.” 
 
But, Floyd always was able to put on a strong front. A man with strong faith, the 37-year-old says he felt like he knew God had a plan for him. “My friends would always seem proud of me because I wouldn’t get torn up about stuff in life,” said Floyd. “I tried to just keep a smile on my face and make it through. But, my friend, Russell, seemed to know I needed something more.” 
Two culinary students preparing for day in the cooking lab. Both are wearing white uniforms and looking down at countertops.
“Georgia Northwestern Technical College Culinary Arts student Sedric Floyd of Rome, Georgia reads over recipe information. In the background is Wilson’s friend and classmate, Russell Steele.”


Russell Steele of Rome, Georgia is one of Sedric’s close friends. So close, they are now both enrolled in the Georgia Northwestern Technical College Culinary Arts program. “He’s just so good with food,” said Steele. “I knew that something like this program would be perfect for him.” 
 
Last summer, during a visit to Floyd’s Rome, Georgia home, Steele convinced Floyd to apply to Georgia Northwestern. “It had been a long time since I had been in school,” said the Rome High School Class of 1999 graduate. “I went straight into the military out of high school. Going to college was a big step.” After doing exceptionally well in his collegiate placement testing, Floyd joined his friend and enrolled in the Culinary Arts program. 
 
GNTC Culinary Arts instructor Chef Kasey Cromer knew from day one that Floyd would be successful. “Success in the dictionary is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose,” said Cromer. “This is exactly why Sedric will do well in the culinary field. When he does something, new or familiar, he goes at it with a sense of purpose. He has such a great attitude about it. He lets nothing get in his way. 
 
However, one of the first obstacles for Floyd didn’t come by way of a ladle or a butcher’s knife. “When I first came to class, I came standing up. I was wearing my prosthetic leg,” said Floyd. “However, due to problems with how the prosthetics attach to my particular kind of amputation, it can become incredibly painful to use. That’s when I’ll use the chair.” 
 
Worried about how it would impact him in the classroom, he spoke with the instructors about having to use his chair in the classroom. “Chef Greg (Paulson) and Chef Kasey (Cromer) told me to do whatever it takes to make sure I was in class,” said Floyd. “They said they’d work with me and help me succeed. They just kept telling me that I was doing great. That meant a lot.” 
 
Much like his years of multiple military deployments with the United States Air Force, the Culinary Arts training from Georgia Northwestern has taken Floyd around the world. Learning all about the foods, the recipes, and their preparations from many cultures has inspired Floyd in looking for his career path. 
 
“We recently visited with the people at CalyRoad Creamery in Sandy Springs, Georgia,” said Floyd. “We made our own fresh mozzarella cheese and I really enjoyed that. And, when I got home that day, I made a homemade lasagna with the cheese.”  
Close-up shot of lasagna on formal place setting. Bottle of wine with half-full glass behind the plate.
“After a field trip to a creamery, Georgia Northwestern Technical College Culinary Arts student Sedric Floyd of Rome, Georgia was inspired to make this Italian creation with homemade mozzarella cheese.”
Floyd has many ideas for what he wants to do in the culinary world. The menu and the theme is still up in the air, but he is sure he wants to start his own chain of food trucks. “I’m thinking my trucks will offer customers my recipes of BBQ fused with French or Italian Cuisine,” said Floyd. “I have so many ideas right now. I’m still trying to find myself in what I want to specialize in. Another idea I was considering was an upscale breakfast. Something you would get from at a five-star restaurant, but from a food truck. 
 
Chef Cromer said Floyd also has extra things about him that will make him very special working in the culinary arts. “Things seem to click for him so dexterously, like tasting food to adjust for seasoning, knowing that it may need more or less of something even though that is what a recipe calls for,” said Kromer. “He also is great with his hands. He can fix just about anything. To be able to fix a dish machine, or a mixer, or work on some plumbing issue, he will be the full package when it comes to this business.” 
 
When working with things such as pouring, mixing, and other kitchen procedures requiring use of his left hand, he has some help from a special device. “It’s a glove that forces my hand into an open position,” said Floyd. “The nerve damage from the crash doesn’t allow me to open my fingers together to grab. But, I can close my hand.” The neuropathy Floyd deals with each day can be painful, but you would never know just by looking at him. 
Photo of a white wedding cake with red art and trim work. Photo is taken in a dark room.
“The design and baking of wedding cakes have been among Georgia Northwestern Technical College Culinary Arts student Sedric Floyd’s favorite things to learn. One of Sedric’s creations is shown in this photo taken in the Woodlee Building on the Floyd County Campus.”
He works through the pain without complaint and he’s always in a pleasant mood” said Cromer. “He really impacts the rest of the class in a positive way. It’s really encouraging. It even makes me want to do better and better in my work each day.” Floyd currently lives in Rome, Georgia. He is currently engaged to his fiancéeCarmaneke Crawford. He has three children, Jelisa (16), DaMetrius (14), and Madysin (11).  
 
For more information on Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Culinary Arts program, you can call 866-983-4682. For information online, visit the college at GNTC.edu, as well as on GNTC’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube channels. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and an equal opportunity institute. 
 
GNTC offers more than 200 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.  GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution. 

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