Chattahoochee Technical College’s commencement ceremony on June 3 marked the institution’s 50th year of conferring degrees, diplomas and certificates. In 1964, the Marietta-Cobb Area Vocational Technical School, which would later become CTC, graduated 37 students compared to the 402 graduates of its 2014 class. While some of the programs were the same, today’s class also completed programs in the fields of health care, computer science and management.
Johntavious Johnson of Cartersville was chosen to speak at the commencement ceremony. The 28-year-old husband and father will graduate at the conclusion of the summer semester with a practical nursing diploma.
As the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership, or GOAL, winner, Johnson shared with his fellow students his belief in the importance of an applicable education.
“In a time when it seems that our principles of economy and government are failing and the strength we need to press pass these things has all but faded away, indeed the answer is the same as it has always been: education, but not in its current form. In the past, traditional post-secondary education helped us create, shape and mold the leaders we needed as we pressed forward into new frontiers and generated even greater horizons, but now as things have withered to a crawl, dare I say a standstill, we have found ourselves with too many leaders and not enough builders, not enough implementers, not enough foundation layers. ... In the past technical education was seen as a second-rate option but .... gone is the wilderness of four-year universities with vague four-year degrees. Education must mature from its current form. ... In the Technical College System of Georgia is where college grew up and when it grew up it learned to spend less of my money and do more with what it had. When it grew up it became more efficient, using less of my time. It helped me graduate faster. It became more directed, more purposeful and more impactful,” Johnson said in his speech to the crowd.
He garnered a roomful of applause by the end of his 3-minute speech.
Johnson said he comes from a family that has been greatly affected by drugs and believes many people have given up the hope for better opportunities. He sees technical colleges as an answer to those with families or who need a more economical pathway to a new career.
Practical nursing is not the end for Johnson. He hopes to secure a job working in pediatrics while he returns to school to complete the practical nursing bridge to registered nurse. From there, his dream job would be to work in a remote village in India providing care to those in need.
“I would love to be in a position to help people regardless of their ability to pay. I want to welcome them with love and let them see true acceptance,” Johnson said.
Among the 402 graduates, 200 chose to participate in the ceremony. Thirty-eight were honored for completing an associates of applied science or diploma program with a 4.0 cumulative grade point average.
Lisa Eason, the Technical College System of Georgia assistant commissioner of administration, delivered the commencement speech. Since July 1999, Eason has served as accounting manager, director of accounting, and executive director of administrative services at TCSG.
“The college hopes to continue to grow as the largest technical college in Georgia by providing an accessible pathway to workforce development for the community and quality education for students,” Rebecca Long, a communication representative for CTC, said.