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Cox praises OTC graduates

State school superintendent offers one graduate a job interview

   State School Superintendent Kathy Cox urged graduates to consider teaching, and even offered one graduate a job during her speech Tuesday night as the Class of 2007 graduated from Ogeechee Technical College.
    "I am thrilled to be here tonight," she said to the students and their guests gathered at Georgia Southern University's Hanner Fieldhouse. She praised Ogeechee Tech's  "wonderful array of programs and degrees.
    "Our state  is really addressing the future," she said. "This is the future of Georgia and you are really  making a difference."
    Cox commented on two particular degrees - geographic information systems technology and deaf studies.
    "When I looked at GIS technology, I said 'huh?'" she said. "And I also got particularly excited about American Sign Language."
    She told the deaf studies graduate, Eva Undergberg, "I want to talk to you after you get your diploma," adding she had a couple of jobs for the graduate.
    She told the graduates to consider teaching in an environment that is growing more and more technology friendly, as more students are seeking a technology degree instead of the traditional four years of college.
    "It is delightful we have people trained in knowledge about all the new imaging we have about," she said, referring to new medical procedures and techniques.
    Cox spoke about raising expectations for students who don't choose the traditional college path and the need for alternatives to that choice. "Why should we think (a student pursuing a technical career) deserves any less than the best ... while they are still in high school?"
    She emphasized that technical colleges and the programs they offer are just as important as other colleges and said she is "excited about the future of our technical education ..."
    Her advice to the graduates included telling them to continue to meet challenges.
    "You've tackled some of the hardest things in your life, and now that  you're pursuing a career, you'll be asked to tackle even more," she said.
    Following her speech, graduates from a number of programs at Ogeechee Tech made the walk to receive their diplomas as guests cheered and whistled. After the ceremony, graduates were swamped by friends, family and others wishing them well.
    When asked how she felt at the  moment, Sharina Scott, 22, Savannah, said "I don't know, excited." She said she is looking forward to tackling 3,120 hours if internship in the mortuary field, as she graduated with a mortuary science degree.
    So did her friend Belveanna Daniels, 30, also from Savannah. Daniels is already working at Williams and Williams Funeral Home as administrator, and is looking forward to furthering her career after graduation.
    Before the ceremony, she stood waiting for her family to arrive with her gown she had left behind. "I'm nervous," she said. But as she walked across the stage, she gave a wide smile and waved to her family.
    Natasha Vick, 22, from Pooler, was also nervous before the ceremony, having misplaced her tassel.
    "I'm ready to graduate, finally," the veterinary technician major said. "I have a job at a veterinary hospital in Savannah and I hope to stay there and gain more experience."
    When Denny de la Cruz, 34, Savannah, walked across the stage, he hugged the woman presenting him with his diploma and picked her up off the floor in his exuberance. Outside after the ceremony, he was all smiles as he held his young son, one of three children.
    He received a degree in architectural drafting technology. "I feel great," he said. "On top of the world. I'm going to go make me some money!"
    

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