Chattahoochee Technical College announced Surgical Technology student Beauty Chanda as its 2020 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) winner and psychology instructor Monica Barbara as the college’s 2020 Rick Perkins Award instructor of the year. Chattahoochee Tech also announced Denise James as the college’s Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education (EAGLE) award winner.

These winners were announced Friday during the college’s annual awards luncheon at the North Metro Campus to honor outstanding students and faculty. On behalf of the Chattahoochee Tech Foundation, Board of Trustees Chairman Jason Anavitarte presented the Chattahoochee Tech GOAL and EAGLE winners each with a $500 cash award. He also presented a $1,500 professional development grant to Barbara, and a $1,000 grant to the Rick Perkins Award first runner-up, interiors instructor Ginger Burton.

The GOAL and Rick Perkins Award programs are statewide initiatives of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), with all 22 of Georgia’s technical colleges presenting these awards annually. The GOAL program honors excellence in academics and leadership among the state’s technical college students. GOAL also highlights the importance of technical education in today’s world. Chattahoochee Tech finalists for the 2020 GOAL award were CNC Technology student Maria Avitia-Freeman, Medical Assisting student Mackenzie Fidati, and Physical Therapist Assistant student Alexa McCauley, along with this year’s GOAL winner, Beauty Chanda.

“Thanks to technical education, I’ve found my calling as a future surgical technologist,” said Chanda.

Born and raised in South Africa, she said she traveled to Cobb County in 2017 in order to pursue a high-quality, affordable college education at Chattahoochee Technical College.

The Rick Perkins Award recognizes excellence in education by honoring technical college instructors who make significant contributions to technical education through innovation and leadership in their fields. Instructors were nominated for this award based on innovative instruction, educational achievement, and college and community leadership. The college’s other finalists for the 2020 Rick Perkins Award included environmental technology instructor Stephen Anderson, and welding and joining instructor Jordan Hunter.

“What we are all ultimately doing here is preparing the next generation of individuals who will lead, shape and guide our communities,” Barbara said. “I’m very thankful for my career in technical education, because it allows me to play a role in my students’ journey.”

The Chattahoochee Tech GOAL and Rick Perkins Award winners will move on to compete in TCSG regional competitions held in March, at which state finalists will be named for each award. The state finalists then will compete at the state level in April.

The EAGLE award celebrates students who have demonstrated achievement in adult education classes. Selection criteria for this award also include character, attitude, leadership and community involvement. The Chattahoochee Tech 2020 EAGLE nominees were Anna Grace Collins and Sandra Elias along with Denise James, who was announced as the winner. She will represent the college in March at the state-level EAGLE Leadership Institute, at which the state EAGLE winner will be announced.

“Adult Education and Chattahoochee Tech can open doors of opportunity for anyone willing to walk through them,” said James, of Cherokee County. “You have to be willing to put in the work, but it will change your life.”

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