Diquita Mathis Named SGTC 2024 GOAL Winner

Published 8:36 am Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Staff  Reports

Diquita Mathis, a Criminal Justice student from Pinehurst, has been selected as South Georgia Technical College’s Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) winner for 2024. She will represent the college in regional and state level competitions for the honor of being named the statewide Student of the Year and serving as the face of technical education in Georgia.

South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) President Dr. John Watford made the announcement during a recent luncheon on the Americus campus. The luncheon was held in honor of the five 2024 GOAL finalists: Mathis; Joshua Bartlett of Vienna, Electrical Systems Technology; Damon Brown of Americus, Culinary Arts; Katlin Champion of Americus, Marketing Management; and Zackary Mincey of Buena Vista, Welding.

Mathis was nominated for the honor by her instructor, Teresa McCook. “Diquita has exceeded expectations of what a student should be,” McCook said. “She’s got great work ethics and goes over and beyond a normal student workload. She’s also a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. I believe she will be an excellent student for GOAL in Atlanta.”

After her name was announced, Mathis was overwhelmed to be selected. “I never thought I’d be standing here as the winner,” she said. “I want to thank Mrs. McCook for pushing me to continue to go harder and harder in my education.” Mathis also thanked her husband for his support and encouragement. “He told me ‘just focus on your education; I got everything’, so I really want to thank my husband and my daughter for always supporting me.”

The field began with 12 GOAL nominees, but was narrowed to five following an original round of interviews with the GOAL screening committee composed of SGTC employees Peiare Adderly, Michelle McGowan, Sandhya Muljibhai, Tylen Pepito, and Jennifer Robinson.

During the luncheon, SGTC Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Josh Curtin presented a certificate to each nominee in recognition of the honor. Finalists also received a trophy presented by Curtin and their nominating instructors. Mathis received an additional trophy and other gifts as the overall winner.

An external committee consisting of community leaders then interviewed the finalists to determine who would represent South Georgia Technical College at the regional and state levels. The selection committee members for 2024 were Ervin Anderson, Senior Lecturer Emeritus and Executive Director of the African American Male Institute at Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW); Amber Batchelor, President of the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce; Rev. Michael Coley, past chairman of the SGTC Board of Directors; Dr. Gaye Hayes, GSW Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management; and Richard McCorkle, Executive Director of Chattahoochee-Flint RESA.

Mathis will proceed to regional judging later this month. In April. Nine regional finalists – three finalists from each of the three regions – will be announced in Atlanta during the Technical College System of Georgia’s State level competitions.  A panel of leaders from the business, industry and government sectors will interview them and choose one to be the 2024 State GOAL Winner and the recipient of the GOAL medallion. Additionally, the state winner becomes the spokesperson for technical education in Georgia for the entire year and is awarded a car from Kia Motors.