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Michael Kelly, an Electrical Engineering student on the Valdosta Campus, has been named the 2023 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) winner for Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. GOAL honors excellence in academics and leadership among the state’s technical college students, and is a statewide program of the Technical College System of Georgia. Local GOAL winners are selected at each of the state’s 22 technical colleges and one Board of Regents college with a technical education division.
Joshua Whittington, Assistant Dean for Technical and Industrial Programs and Instructor, nominated Kelly for this honor. “During my classes, Mr. Kelly has displayed many of the characteristics of a transformational leader. The energy behind his language and his authentic caring for technical education create a positive learning environment for both instructors and students. I am confident that Mr. Kelly has the ability to represent the benefits of technical education in the state of Georgia,” shared Whittington.
Kelly shared, “It's an honor to be chosen to represent myself, my family, and my community! I'm grateful I finally get the opportunity to share my story. I wish to inspire others to never lose hope in your dreams and to work fearlessly for the life you desire! I thank God for this moment and I will do my best to not only allow my light to shine, but also inspire others to be brave enough to reciprocate the same." Kelly has also been nominated by his instructor to compete at state SkillsUSA conference and compete in automation technology. His career goal is is to become a Robotics Engineer one day.
Kelly competed against other nominees from Wiregrass’ four campuses in Valdosta, Douglas, Fitzgerald, and Sparks before being named as one of the top four nominees and college winner. The runners-up were: Wilmer Calles, Game Development, Valdosta Campus; Tetiana Denysenkp, Paramedicine, Valdosta Campus; Heather Foskey, Welding and Joining Technology, Coffee Campus.
Kelly will now advance to the regional competition in February. In April, he will learn if he is one of the nine state finalists at the State GOAL Awards ceremony in Atlanta. A panel of business, industry, and government leaders will interview the finalists and choose one to be the 2023 State GOAL winner and recipient of the GOAL medallion. The grand prize includes a new car, courtesy of KIA, the statewide corporate sponsor of the GOAL program. Last year’s state winner was Wiregrass’ 2022 GOAL Winner, Ryan Degner who graduated Spring Semester in Welding and Joining Technology.