Winners Qualify For State Skills-Based Competition


“Regional finalists in the 2016 Region 1 District SkillsUSA competition competed in the Carpentry category on January 29. This category, along with more than two dozen others, were hosted on the Walker County Campus of Georgia Northwestern Technical College.”


(Walker County, Georgia) – From on-site to online, nearly 400 Northwest Georgia high school standouts took part in the Region 1 District SkillsUSA competition hosted by Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) in Walker County, Georgia.


More than two dozen a­reas of competition heated up on January 29 on the Rock Spring, Georgia-based campus of GNTC. “These students are locked in and really hoping to advance,” said GNTC’s SkillsUSA Coordinator, Mike Meyer. “We couldn’t be more proud of the level of competition our schools have prepared these students for in the weeks to come.” GNTC also competes each year in the collegiate level of SkillsUSA on the state, and often times, on the national level.


From Fort Oglethorpe to Cedartown, as well as up into the Blue Ridge Mountains, competitors took part in timed contests involving quality and skill of the highest level. “All across campus students were vying for spots in the state competition,” said Meyer. “From Early Childhood Education to Drafting to Broadcast Production, we’ve got a great list of winners headed to the state competition after today’s events.”


Student qualifiers from across the Peach State will compete on the state level March 17-19. Competitions will be held at Atlanta’s Georgia International Conference Center, Atlanta Technical College, and North Georgia Technical College. Here’s who qualified to compete from Region 1 which comprises most of Northwest Georgia. For most categories, only the top two finishers in a category will move on to the state competition.


Advertising Design
1. Azlin Cleveland, Calhoun High School

  1. Georgia Bronson, Dalton High School



Architectural Drafting

  1. Timothy Hodge, Heritage High School
  2. Chase Morgan, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School


Automotive Refinishing Technology

  1. Caleb Pledger, Chattooga High School


Automotive Service Technology

  1. Chase Hasty, Northwest Georgia CCA
  2. David Crothers, Cherokee High School


Broadcast News Production

  1. Gilmer High School – Karigan Abercrombie, Matthew Fowler, Echo Stover, and Amanda Wheat.
  2. North Murray High School – Levi Anderson, Samantha Brown, Christopher Lawson, and Josh North.


Cabinet Making

  1. Josh Puckett, Cedartown High School
  2. Beck Fletcher, Calhoun High School



  1. Logan Fincher, Cedartown High School
  2. Jarrod Rollins, Adairsville High School


Collision Repair Technology

  1. Dalton Yarbrough, Rockmart High School
  2. Gabe Soto, Gordon Central High School


Computer Maintenance Tech

  1. Dane Bush, Cass High School



  1. Kendy Manzano, Adairsville High School
  2. Alvaro Luna, North Murray High School


Electrical Construction Wiring

  1. Gabe Smith, Calhoun High School
  2. Andrew Whitfield, Cedartown High School



  1. Miriam Madrid, North Murray High School
  2. Leslie Bell, Cass High School


Extemporaneous Speaking

  1. Ashley Kissinger, Cherokee High School
  2. Raven Hogue, LaFayette High School


First Aid/CPR

  1. Laura-Ashley Tillery, Cedartown High School
  2. Ashley Campbell, Cherokee High School


Job Interview

  1. Jacob Engstrom, Gilmer High School
  2. McKinley Blassingame, Murray County High School


Job Skills Demonstration “A”

  1. Caitlyn Wynn, Northwest Georgia CCA
  2. Bryan Tapia, Floyd County CCA


Job Skills Demonstration Open

  1. Edith Loarca, Cherokee High School
  2. Nicholas Freelin, Calhoun High School



  1. Rodrigo Morales-Jiminez, Cedartown High School
  2. Jackson Tuck, Adairsville High School


Open & Closing Ceremonies

  1. Bartow County College & Career Academy – Cohen Andrews, Meosha Clopton, Madison Healy, Savannah Healy, Steven James, Felicia Miller, and Hannah Shinall.


Pin Design

  1. Hannah Raley, Heritage High School
  2. Emanual Arroyo, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School



  1. Hamilton Noggle, Adairsville High School
  2. J. Middleton, Chattooga High School


Prepared Speech

  1. Emanual Pineda, Dalton High School
  2. Ingrid Brindle, Heritage High School


Early Childhood Education

  1. Hunter Stillwell, Gilmer High School
  2. Kaylee Holtzclaw, Murray County High School


Quiz Bowl

  1. Heritage High School – Matthew Chen, Bryce Crichfield, Ryan Harris, Isaac Leal, and Henry Tollett.
  2. Dalton High School – Hanna Barry, Romina Mendoza, Elizabeth Ortega, and Mitul Patel.


Team Works Region

  1. Adairsville High School – Carter Arrington, Jason Burdette, William Kujaneck, John Reed, and Adam Thomas.
  2. Calhoun High School – Noah Ferguson, James O’Shields, Brett Potts, Shepherd Smith, and Jared Williamson.


Team Works State

(Top 10 statewide performance on region level of competition advance to state)

  1. Adairsville High School
  2. Calhoun High School
  3. Cass High School


Technical Drafting

  1. Christian Sawyer, Heritage High School
  2. Kaleob Flood, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School



  1. Chase Manning, Cedartown High School
  2. Chase Dotson, Chattooga High School


Welding Fabrication (Region Results)

  1. Murray County High School – Dakoda Bishop, Jordan Flood, Sean Keener, and Justin Lowery.
  2. Chattooga High School – Tufton Blanks, John Hunter, C.E. Massey, and Jay Williams.


Welding Fabrication (State Results)

Eighth Place in State: Murray County High School



SkillsUSA is a national organization for high school and college students who enroll in courses that teach them how to excel in technical, skilled, and service and health occupations.


For information about Georgia Northwestern Technical College online, visit them at, as well as on their 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.


Since 1962, Georgia Northwestern Technical College has provided degrees, diplomas, and certificates in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 13,734 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,876 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,858 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.

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Image  —  Posted: February 3, 2016 in academic, college, education, georgia, registration, Uncategorized
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Corey Carlile (r) and Brittny Burns (l)

Corey Carlile (right) Georgia Northwestern’s 2016 GOAL Winner and Brittny Burns (left) Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year at GNTC.


(Rome, Georgia) – Corey Carlile, a Marketing student from Aragon, has been named Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) 2016 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) winner and Brittny Burns, a Business Technology instructor from Kennesaw, was selected as the college’s 2016 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year.


The winners were named during the Seven Hills Rotary Club meeting at Coosa Country Club on Tuesday, Feb. 2. The awards were sponsored and presented by the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce, the Seven Hills Rotary Club of Rome, and the GNTC Student Leadership Council.


Brandy Weaver of Whitfield County, who was chosen in December to represent Georgia Northwestern at the EAGLE Leadership Institute, was also recognized during the banquet. The Leadership Institute recognizes and honors those students who have demonstrated superior achievement in adult education classes and programs.

Coery Carlile (r) and Pete McDonald (l)

Pete McDonald (left), president of GNTC and Corey Carlile (right), GNTC’s 2016 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) winner.

Carlile, GNTC’s GOAL winner, is a student at the Floyd County Campus and was nominated by her instructor, Mark Upton, director of the Marketing program. She was selected from a group of four semi-finalists for her presentation on technical education by a panel of judges representing business, industry, and higher education in the Northwest Georgia region.


“Corey is a diligent student, personable, a leader, and a mentor to other students in the classroom,” said Upton.


Carlile is on the President’s List and is a member of Phi Beta Lambda at Georgia Northwestern. She received her High School diploma from Woodland High School in Cartersville, where she served on the Yearbook team and as a student mentor for the Peer Facilitator program.


“The faculty at Georgia Northwestern are amazing,” said Carlile. “They are extremely passionate about what they do and very energetic, which rubs off on the students.”


She is currently a Teller II for First Citizens Bank and has served as a receptionist at Walk-in MD, a Teller II for Hamilton State Bank, and as a Teller I for Family Savings Credit Union.


Carlile remains very active in the community by performing volunteer work for numerous organizations including: volunteer, American Cancer Society Relay for Life; marketing assistant, Atlanta Force Annual Golf Tournament; marketing assistant, Atlanta Force Annual Golf Tournament Championship Game; and top sales, Advocates for Children Duck Derby.


As the 2016 GOAL Winner for Georgia Northwestern, Carlile will move to the regional competition and if chosen as a regional winner, she will compete at the state level against winners from the other regions of Georgia. She will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Atlanta. A panel of leaders from business, industry, and government will choose the Technical College System of Georgia’s (TCSG) GOAL winner for 2016 and recipient of the GOAL medallion. The 2016 Student of the Year and state GOAL winner will serve as TCSG’s student ambassador during a number of system and college functions throughout the year.


As the grand prize, a new automobile provided by Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia will be awarded to the state GOAL winner.


Brittny Burns (r) and Pete McDonald (l)

Pete McDonald (left), president of GNTC, and Brittny Burns (right), Georgia Northwestern’s 2016 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year.

Brittny Burns, instructor of Business Technology on the Floyd County Campus, was selected as GNTC’s 2016 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year.


Burns was chosen for her outstanding presentation about the value of technical education.


“Technical education is essential to our local workforce,” said Burns. “As instructors we have the unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our students and our community.”


Burns has been an instructor at GNTC since 2010. Prior to joining Georgia Northwestern, she was a student representative for the Office of Development at Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Va. and a nuclear medicine intern at Sentara Healthcare and Bon Secours Health Systems.


A Summa Cum Laude student, Burns received her bachelor’s degree in Nuclear Medicine Technology from ODU. As an undergraduate student, she served as vice president of the student ambassadors for the Student Government Organization and as director of Campus Outreach and Development of T.R.U.S.T., Inc. a community service organization.


She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Georgia State University in Atlanta.


Burns is an active member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and also currently a member of the National Association of Health Service Executives. She was an intern for the Business School Alliance for Health Management and is a certified technologist by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board.


As GNTC’s Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year, Burns will compete in the regional competition. If chosen as a regional winner, she will compete at the state level in the competition. A panel of leaders from business, industry, and government will choose one instructor to be the 2016 Technical College System of Georgia’s Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year. The winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize.


The Rick Perkins Award winner serves as an ambassador for technical education in Georgia. He or she will make many public appearances throughout the year. The last state winner to represent GNTC was 2013 Rick Perkin’s winner, Troy Peco, director of the Automotive Technology program.


Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 13,734 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,876 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,858 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.

12 Noon at Coosa Country Club TODAY!
Rome, Georgia

Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) will announce the student winner of the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) competition and the instructor selected for the Rick Perkins Award of Excellence in Technical Instruction competition today at noon at the Coosa Country Club in Rome.

The announcements and presentations will take place during the Seven Hills Rotary Club meeting. The awards are sponsored by the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce, the Seven Hills Rotary Club of Rome, and the GNTC Student Leadership Council.

The winners of GNTC’s 2016 GOAL and Rick Perkins Awards will move on to compete in the regional competitions. If chosen as regional winners they will compete at the state level in the competitions.



Georgia Northwestern Technical College is proud to announce the students on the President’s and Dean’s Lists for the 2015 fall semester. To be eligible for the President’s List, the student must maintain a quarterly GPA of 3.8 or higher with a course load of at least 12 credit hours. To be eligible for the Dean’s List the student must maintain a quarterly GPA of 3.5 to 3.79 with a course load of at least 12 credit hours.


President’s List Students for:


Catoosa County: Marte Andrews, Alexandrea Beasley, Nicolette Driscoll, Jordan Estes, Kellie Garland, Jody Hicks, Angerleak Kile, Shannon Langston, Summer Ledbetter, Lorie Maynard, Hannah Mckinney, Taylor Neal, Samuel Penney, Morgan Pilkington, Smyrde Sermeil, Alan Thompson, Jamie Van Nice, Adrian Verdin-Venable.


Chattooga County: Sarah Allen, Nathan Bailey, Charles Barksdale, Crystal Brazelton, Jenna Chance, Tameka Covington, Lucas Gilleland, Jazzmine Grinis, Matthew Hayes, Marilyn Holiday, Bryant Park, Scarlett Prince, Stephen Ratzmann, Randall Reece, Nathaniel Rench, Tracie Rowlls, Dylan Thoreson, Taylor Tinney, Natalie Tutton, Amber Ward, Cassandra White, Tyler Whitfield.


Dade County: John Castleberry, Allison Haswell, Thomas Mayweather, Judy Smith, Payton Vaughn.


Floyd County: James Adcock, Douglas Austin, Jonathan Bagwell, Julia Barnes, Summer Beard, Stephanie Bourne, Dalton Brackett, Doralee Burnes, Charles Burns, Anthony Cain, Cassandra Chance, Terri Chapman, Demarcus Daniel, Stephen Dean, Amanda Dewitt, Jenni Duke, Lakesha Dunnom, Jeremy Duvall, Elizabeth Earwood, Curtis Edwards, Misttie Elcombe, Jennifer Ellison, Jacob Faile, Tara Flennery, Joseph Fountain, Keysa Garrett, Daniel George, Melissa Godfrey, Jacob Goss, Theresa Graham, Michael Green, Jose Guzman, Alexis Hale, Eric Hayes, Kaila Haynes, Latonia Henry, Matthew Hicks, Amber Hill, Christopher Honeycutt, Miranda Hopkins, Noah Jackson, Cheyenne Johnson, Timothy Johnston, Keith Jones, Rhonda Jones, Haven Kandasammy, Michael King, Kenneth Landrum, Matthew Littlejohn, Kara Long, Andrew Lyles, Amelia Marks, Benjamin Marsh, Steven Marsh, Priscilla Martin, Susana Mercado, Sierra Minter, Holly Morgan, Stephanie Morris, Ashley Patty, Catalina Pension, Belinda Pettis, Katie Ramey, Anthony Schock, Jaluna Shelley, Bryan Shirley, Karey Sims, Taylor Smith, Kasey Southerlin, Zachary Stone, Belinda Thomas, Monica Trotter, Clint Turner, Jessica Wakefield, Christina Walker, Mallory Wallace, Abbey Williams, Brandon Williams, Chris Wood.


Gordon County: Vicente AnguianoPalmerin, Barry Arrington, Gaston Bailey, Misty Banks, Nolverto Barrios, Morgan Boyd, Drewcilla Brandon, Nathan Britt, Carol Castillo, Marco Castillo, Summer Childers, Traci Cochran, Caroline Cortes, Oksana Daniel, Jackie Davis, Trina Dean, Tonia Derryberry, Melissa Devore, Bo Dooley, Mary Farrell, Elizabeth Fitz, Zachary Guess, Karen Herrera, Daniel Hill, David Holt, Hayden Housley, John Humphrys, Charles Jackson, Sarah Krummert, Jose Leal, Joshua Lovain, Joshua Maddox, Jonathan Mathews, Cody McCormack, Charles McNeil, Katherine Melgar, Cheri Mitchell, Ryan Moser, Cortney Pass, Haven Pritchard, Tonya Smith, Melinda Spires, Autumn Stokes, Jeremiah Thomas, Sarah Thomas, Lacie Turner, Nicholas Wimpy, Taylor Wooten.


Murray County: Elsa Avelar, Taylor Brown, Tyler Bullock, Alesha Cassell, Tony Coggins, Alejandro Fraire, Julio Gonzalez, Troy Grace, Kayla Ingle, Brandon Payne, Tiffany Rampley, Brian Smith, Kevin Summey, Joey Thomason, Jarrod Trimble.


Polk County: Jose Aviles Gomez, Charles Baldwin, Ryan Bauer, Logan Cameron, Samantha Cantrell, Nancy Cervantes, Faith Cheeks, Edgar Cornejo, Randy Cruz, Corey Deaton, James Garrett, Joshua Highfield, Kaysie Holder, Isabella Lane, Leland Ledford, Kaleb Lewallen, Martin Ortiz, Jessica Payton, Dusty Powell, Philip Reed, Marisa Sanchez, Savannah Shaw, Emma Short, Brittney Sisson, Savannah Sullivan, Jonathan Thompson, Alexander Tracy.


Walker County: Justin Asher, Brian Barclay, Heather Bennett, Micah Blackwell, Stephanie Bonito, Chelsey Bradley, Danielle Brown, Tiffanie Brown, Christina Buoni, Brandon Carr, Jessica Case, Christina Champion, Stacy Childers, Cynthia Cooper, Marla Cooper, Sheldon Covington, Charles Crowe, Alysa Daniel, Chelsea Dennison, Larissa Douthit, Emily Eberhardt, Misty Emard, Misty Fowler, Anthony Freeman, Gary Gee, Corey Graham, Savannah Lee Gray, Whitney Green, Lanier Guest, Rachael Hancock, Abigail Hannah, Diamondlu Holland, Samantha Johnson, Timothy Jones, Madison Killen, Victoria Kingsley, Jennifer LeQuire, Shannon Little, Regina Loveless, Kelli McDonald, Cynthia Medley, Taylor Pearson, Sebrina Peoples, Kerin Phillips, Taylor Phillips, James Powell, Korenda Powell, Kaitlin Prestridge, Misty Pryor-Bradshaw, Aleishia Ragsdale, Robert Ramsey, Heather Salvador, Joshua Sells, Stephen Skinner, Lauren Stephens, Adam Vandiver, Jeffery Vaughn, Allison Whitley.


Whitfield County: Amy Aguilar, Orlando Altamirano, Jose Barrera, Olivia Beavers, Lauren Bell, Blake Burris, Kathy Chadwick, Randall DeFore, Joselyn Diaz, Morgan Faith, Hernan Garcia, Miguel Garcia, Juanita Hall, Katherine Hayes, Jose Hernandez, Dala Hufstetler, Lacody Kitchens, Audrey Ledford, James Lewis, Carlos Luna, Albert Martinez, Alan Mendoza, Tyler Minchew, Emily Monroig, Amber O’Bryant, Leticia Olvera, Kaila Phillips, David Rayborn, Victoria Rico, Adrian Rodriguez, Christian Saenz, Kabir Sheikh, Talya Smith, Patrick Stephens, Zackery Tapp, Antonio Torres, Miguel Torres, Barry Waldrop, Christina Watkins, Emily White.


Other Counties: Jonathan Amos, Kimberly Ashley, Brittney Bailey, Corrine Barrett, Courtney Blair, Lisa Burke, Cayla Casaletta, Jennifer Castille, Amy Clarke, Rebecca Cook, Tiffany Cowart, Haley Davis, Megan Dempsey, Traci Dupree, Alisha Fuller, Terrijana Gamble, Andrew Goodrick, Austin Greeson, Joel Groover, Augusta Hallowell, Justin Hazelwood, Joe Henderson, Summer Hudson, Madeline Jones, Tammy Kuhn, Jia Mei Li, Brandy Little, Donna Lowe, Kevin McDonald, Pauline Meshida, Christian Metroka, Nathan Miles, Holly Milligan, Ryan Mincey, An Nguyen, Lori Nisenoff, Angela Owen, Anthony Owens, Mary Owens, Bradley Pearson, Heather Phillips, Melinda Pratt, Olivia Quezada, John Reynolds, Luke Riddle, Kaitlyn Roberts, Tyler Robertson, Timothy Samples, Tracy Shinall, Brandon Shuping, Adriana Silva, Tammara Simmons, Julie Stites, Ashley Tefft, Virginia White, Kasie Yates.


Dean’s List Students for:


Catoosa County: Amber Allen, Grant Allen, Michael Braud, Andrew Cascella, Nicholas Conrad, Kaylyn Craig, Rebekah Crawford, Elizabeth Davis, MacKenzie Dilbeck, Carl Drew, Lauren Dunham, Ramsi Garner, Sara Gibson, Susan Goldsmith, Jacob Hargrove, Stephen Horsley, Sonya Kirkpatrick, Deloris McBee, Melinda Mount, William Nalley, Cameron Sherlin, Chelsea Skidmore, Corey Strayhorn, Molly Thompson.


Chattooga County: April Coley, Crystal Duke, Zachary Duke, Jeffery Edge, Joshua Hatcher, Robert Hays, Aiseh Smith, Gregory Smith, Patricia Trammell, Charla Tucker, Kendrick Williams, Dillon Worley, Yang Yang.


Dade County: Chase Cole, Daniel Hambleton, Tara Simons, Heather Velez.


Floyd County: Benjamin Amis, Ana Arias Ramirez, Jake Ayer, Nasareno Baltazar, Stephanie Barnes, Lindsey Boatfield, Gabrielle Boyd, Baylee Branton, Hallie Broom, Trang Carnes, Katie Carver, Yesenia Cisneros, Candice Cox, Chella Crowe, Randy Crowe, Pamela Daniel, Ferren Dawson, Jamie DeMore, Jomandi Fisher, Debra Glenn, Joshua Godwin, Kristi Gonzales, Hannah Goss, Linda Hallman, Laura Harrington, Nakesha Hayes, Cameron Hesselbrock, William Hightower, Rachael Hunton, Amanda Ingram, Nesbit Isham, Dayton Jones, Kimberly Keziah, Laurie Kitchens, Tiffani Leatherwood, Carly Loftus, Ryley Mobbs, KaBriesha Montgomery, Billy Morgan, Jerry Norton, Amber ONeal, Matthew Osborne, Yuri Padilla, Brandon Patten, Blake Patterson, Andrea Pearson, Oscar Pena, Laquisha Pillow, Jacob Prater, Mark Sharp, Jacob Smith, Jacob Spezio, Samuel Spradley, Natasha Stanley, Rosha Taylor, Kelsey Tortoso, Laurie Turner, Summer Westmoreland, Stephen Wheelus, Catherine White, Chris Williams, Kristen Wright.


Gordon County: Jennifer Angel, Jessica Booth, Nathan Channell, April Clark, Miranda Cooper, Maria Cordero, Nannie Donaldson, Aubri Gazaway, Jake Gentry, Tiffany Grizzle, Gregory Hefner, Melissa Hernandez, William Kelley, Katrina Martin, Marjorie Miller Edmisten, Cindy Nacorda, Meleigha Pasley, Marshall Petty, Cristian Ramirez Miranda, Natasha Reece, Gildardo Villatoro.


Murray County: Tara Atkins, Jaron Black, Aaron Crump, Angelica Gonzalez, Hannah Jones, Zachary Joslyn, Guadalupe Miranda, Josiah Palmer, Amy Rankin, Virginia Rector, Rachel Stuart.


Polk County: Bryan Adams, Angela Allen, Jennifer Barnes, William Benefield, William Bentley, Rebecca Burgess, Christopher Davis, Shannon Easterwood, Kayley England, Kyra Fay, Whitney Frasier, Rebecca Gray, Deborah Jones, Alexandra Knight, Cody Knight, Jorge Palacios-Torres, Kristen Prejean, Shannon Williams, Shannon Williams, Tonya Williamson.


Walker County: Katlyn Bishop, Sasha Brown, William Clark, Crystal Coley, Melanie Collins, Zackary Cornett, Heather Cross, Steven Denson, Sandy Duncan, Selena Dupree, Stefan Edmondson, Adam Everette, Ashley French, Sandra Gordon, Justin Gray, McLane Hicks, Andrew Johnson, Deyanira Lambert, Sarah Laymon, Jerrica Littlejohn, Tristan McGrath, Joshua Myers, Steven Painter, Brandon Rhodes, Rebekah Russell, Amanda Shaw, Rachael Smith, Marcus Toups, Thomas Waymire, Lacey Wilson, Russell Wright.


Whitfield County: Donna Allen, Zulia Alvarado, Kristen Beavers, April Bennett, Paul Braden, Shannon Breeden, Sarah Brown, Andrea Garcia, Stephanie Garcia, Robert Hefner, Charla Horton, Anthony Ibarguen, Julie Kubin, Dakota Lovain, Jonathan Marquez, Cristian Ortiz, Harrison Priest, Bethany Prus, Yuritsi Ramirez, Diego Rodriguez, Asfandyar Sheikh, Krista Sheram, William West.


Other Counties: Megan Aiken, Alyssia Byrd, Amy Caley, Corey Carlile, Haley Carroll, Rebecca Caudill, Evalinda Clark, Justin Dean, Jalesa Delgado, Holly Emory, Lillie Fortenberry, Taylor Free, Jennifer Gonzalez, Patrick Hayes, Rebecca Holbrook, Tony Ingram, Cymber Janssen, Fatmata Kanu, Carren Laing, Jonathan Lucas, Sharon Maxwell, Siderika Maze, Devan Mills, Tiffany Moroy, Preston Nalli, Allison Roebuck, Forrest Skinner, Charles Tanturri, Traci Turner, Kayla Wallace.

A New Breed of Officer Prepares for Tomorrow


“Calhoun Police Officer Hannah Graham, right, poses with Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) Basic Law Enforcement Academy Director Jim Pledger. The two stopped for an interview in one of the classrooms used for academy study on the Gordon County Campus of GNTC.”

(Calhoun, Georgia)
– You’ve seen the videos on the Internet and your television. Videos of what appear to be law enforcement officers using what some call, “excessive force.” Some of the situations have turned fatal for officers and suspects, alike.

Although a video doesn’t tell the entire story of what is taking place in a situation, it does bring to light a topic that the Basic Law Enforcement Academy (B.L.E.) at Georgia Northwestern Technical College takes extremely seriously. It’s all about the use of force exhibited by officers.

“Every 22 weeks, we bring a brand new group of recruits into the academy,” said Jim Pledger, Director of the GNTC B.L.E. Academy. “Teaching these young men and women about the realities of a life in law enforcement is something we take incredibly serious. And fortunately, we’ve been blessed enough to be able to properly train so many regarding the use of force and all that comes with it.”

The last three classes to complete the academy at GNTC have benefited from the training. Every single graduate from those previous groups were placed into a career. “We get calls from across the state asking for quality candidates for openings that law enforcement agencies need to fill now,”  said Pledger. “They are talking to candidates before they even graduate.”

One graduate that is close to home and fell into that category is 24-year-old Hannah Graham. The former Coosa High School (Rome, Georgia) athletic standout is now patrolling the streets of Calhoun, Georgia. In her second year on the force in Gordon County, Graham has already put her academy training and athletic instincts to work in the line of duty.

“I’ve only had one arrest really get physical,” said Graham. “The suspect appeared to be under the influence of something and was having a bad ‘high’. After the suspect sobered up, that person asked for me to visit them in the hospital and apologized to me for being physically aggressive toward me. It’s not a personal thing when a suspect acts out. You have to keep it that way. I’ve learned a lot from the academy and Calhoun Police Department in that regard.”

The United States Bureau of Justice Statistics defines “use of force” as the amount of effort required by law enforcement to gain compliance from an unwilling subject. When it becomes excessive, according to the same source, is when that effort is beyond what is reasonably believed to be necessary to gain the same level of compliance.

“It’s about teaching the future officer how to control a situation,” said Pledger. “We are teaching these students to apply force when it is required. And also, showing them what kind of force is necessary and reasonable in doing the job.”

Graham, currently in her fifth year with the U.S. Army National Guard, says she knows just how serious the academy is about handling these potentially dangerous situations, adequately and appropriately. “Any suspect trying to get away is not necessarily attempting to hurt the officer,” said Graham. “They simply don’t want to be detained and are trying free themselves.”

During the “Use of Force” section of training at the Calhoun, Georgia-based academy, students learn first-hand how to deal with a physical situation with a suspect. “Use of force isn’t about someone being angry and fighting them,” stated Pledger. “It’s about controlling a situation with only the amount of force that is necessary. Anytime you go beyond that boundary, then you are violating the fourth amendment involving search and seizure; as well as due process.”

The constitution does not require a person walking down the street to speak with a police officer, unless there is suspicion of something taking place that shouldn’t. “However, if it’s the middle of the night and we see someone prowling through something behind Wal-Mart, and we ask, can we talk with you for a moment? If they say no, now we can seize them because we have a suspicion that something is going on,” said Pledger.

Stories of suspects being hurt while in the custody of law enforcement agencies are all too common across the country these days. But as the academy’s director teaches the students, the job is about more than protecting the innocent. “Once I have you in custody, you’re in custody,” said Pledger. “And now, it’s my job to protect you and make sure you get to where you need to be, safely. Once I have you in handcuffs, I have no right to ‘get you back’. We have defensive tactic classes that teach the right way to handle this. Everyone has rights that are to be respected.”

Graham, who started working night shift for the Calhoun Police Department just two days after her graduation from the GNTC B.LE. Academy, looks at the sensitive situation like this. “I ask my friends if they have ever visited a doctor that they felt wasn’t that good,” said Graham. “I then ask if they think, as a result, that all doctors must be bad. And, of course, they don’t think that. So, if a few officers in the world are accused of questionable practice, that doesn’t mean every officer is going to be that way. We do what we do because we care about the town. We really do care about the people.”

Her own family are among those she is working for every time she hits the streets. Of course, she has seen the good and the bad when it comes to those closest to her, just like everyone else. She has had several family members sentenced to prison during her life time. “It’s played a part in my decision to pursue law enforcement,” said Graham. “The important part of this job is to just let the people know we are here and will do what’s necessary, if and when the time comes.”

The Floyd County, Georgia native will take a hiatus from her police duties. Later this year, her U.S. Army National Guard unit will be called up to active duty. It’s a deployment that is expected to send her overseas. “They say her job will still be there for her when she returns from her military obligation,” said Pledger. “Calhoun’s Chief (Garry) Moss met with her before her graduation and was sold on her right away. She’s been with them for two years now.”

“I’ve always wanted to be a police officer,” said Graham. “Everybody wanted to be a police officer or a firefighter when I was younger. It all just sort of worked out for me. A friend of mine went through the (B.L.E.) academy a year before I did and talked me into going, too. Everything has just fit together for me.”

The final day to apply for the next academy is February 1. Classes begin February 8. Call 706.378.1728 or e-mail for information.

For more information on Basic Law Enforcement Academy at Georgia Northwestern, contact them at 706.378.1728. Or, you can contact the main line at GNTC at 866.983.4682 (GNTC). For information online, visit them at, as well as on their 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.

Since 1962, Georgia Northwestern Technical College has provided degrees, diplomas, and certificates in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 13,734 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,876 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,858 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.

Congratulations to five very special GNTC instructors who have qualified as finalists for the 2016 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year award at GNTC.

The instructors are:
Gail Bell – Gen. Ed., English
Zenia Bratton – Respiratory Care
Brittny Burns – Business Technology
Philip Shirley – Machine Tool Technology
Kevan Watkins – Gen. Ed., Psychology

The winner will be announced on February 2 during a ceremony at the Seven Hills Rotary Luncheon in Rome, Georgia. The college’s G.O.A.L. award winner for top student will also be presented at the ceremony.