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Gwinnett Tech names GOAL winner

Gwinnett Tech President Sharon Bartels, left, and speech program director Penny Joyner Waddell pose for a picture with 2014 GOAL winner Shelly Dirig. (Special Photo)

Gwinnett Tech President Sharon Bartels, left, and speech program director Penny Joyner Waddell pose for a picture with 2014 GOAL winner Shelly Dirig. (Special Photo)

LAWRENCEVILLE — A health care science student from Snellville is the winner of Gwinnett Technical College’s Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership.

Shelly Dirig was nominated by Penny Joyner Waddell, speech program director, who said Dirig is the exact type of student the school wants to represent Gwinnett Tech.

“She has her goals clearly defined,” Waddell said in a press release. “She’s motivated and she’s made the right choices to take herself to the next level.”

The Technical College System of Georgia sponsors the GOAL program, which recognizes outstanding technical college students and honors excellence in academics and leadership. Local winners are chosen at each of Georgia’s 24 technical colleges.

As Gwinnett Tech’s GOAL winner, Dirig advances to the statewide GOAL competition. The state’s GOAL winner serves as the student ambassador for technical education in Georgia.

Finalists at Gwinnett Tech were Trevell Pittman of Loganville, a business management student, Ben Martin of Buford, an air conditioning technology student, and Aidan Hegarty of Atlanta, a computer programming student.

Dirig is a mother of three children and earned her General Equivalency Degree credential at Gwinnett Tech in 2011. Three months later, she enrolled at Gwinnett Tech to pursue a career as a sonographer. Dirig is now a GTC Student Ambassador and a member of the college’s Toastmaster’s Club.

Judges for the GOAL competition were Matthew Holtkamp, president of Holtkamp Heating and Air Conditioning, Margaret Halbert, associate vice president of Primerica Community and Foundation Relations, Deirdra Cox, vice president of community development at Brand Bank, Ryan Hawk, vice president of business development at Peach State Federal Credit Union, J. Todd Holland, vice president of special product transportation at A.C. White Relocation, and Elizabeth Warland, vice president of North American Sales at Purgenix Inc.