For more information about Lanier Technical College and dual enrollment, call (770) 531-6300 or visit www.laniertech.edu.
GAINESVILLE – More than 640 men and women from seven north Georgia counties received their general education diplomas from Lanier Technical College during a GED ceremony Friday night at Free Chapel.
Some 300 of the graduates walked across the stage and received their diplomas from members of the college’s board of directors, including Haydee Anderson and Roger Slaton, and then were congratulated by Ray Perren, president.
Each of the seven counties that Lanier Tech serves was represented, including Forsyth with 110 graduates, Dawson with 57 and Hall with 299.
Also of note, 79 of the graduates were part of the Georgia Department of Corrections GED program.
Brigitte Accary, a former GED student, addressed the gathering.
“I am from France, and I am an American citizen and proud of it,” she said. “With the support of my teachers and staff who convinced me, I decided to go for a criminal justice diploma to serve this country.
“I deeply encourage you to go further. College is your next step. Take it, it will change your life for the best.”
District 9 State Rep. Kevin Tanner, a Republican from Dawsonville, was the keynote speaker. Prior to serving in the legislature, Tanner was Dawson County’s manager. He also is a small business owner.
"All of you here have faced many obstacles in your life that you had to overcome to be where you are today,” Tanner told the graduates. “I am reminded of what James Agee said, ‘God doesn’t believe in the easy way.’
“It is through this adversity, through these challenges that we grow and become stronger. We are being molded into the type of people we are meant to be.”
Tanner went on to note that the graduates shouldn’t forget where they have come from, but keep their eyes on the future.
"For decades we have pushed our young people to attend four-year colleges,” he said. “We have made those that attend technical school feel like second-class citizens. The reality of the situation is that if we teach someone a skill in technical school, they will succeed in the work force.”
He noted that Lanier Tech’s placement rate after graduation with a certificate, diploma or degree is about 98 percent within the field of study within six months of graduation.
“Most of our colleges are less than 50 percent, and many will never be employed in their field of study after graduating college,” Tanner said. “This is why we are seeing an increasing number of individuals with a college degree entering technical school to learn a trade.
"I know you have worked hard and there were probably many times you wanted to give up, but you persevered and you succeeded. No one can ever take this moment and this accomplishment away from you.
According to information from the college, it has a 98.6 percent job placement rate and offers more than 40 programs of study in some of the nation's fastest-growing career fields, including health care, energy and business and industry.