Including fellow technical colleges throughout the state, the GOAL program considers academic excellence as well as leadership in students. From the state's 26 technical colleges, local winners are selected before moving into the regional and state rounds.
Hughes is an accounting student from Acworth who returned to education after being labeled a "displaced worker" and speaking with possible employers through interviews, career fairs and employment agencies when it became evident that the need for a higher education was critical in the workplace environment.
"I learned that as a displaced worker, I could find where I wanted to be," said Hughes. "Going to college at Chattahoochee Technical College has given me that opportunity."
After the nine regional finalists are selected they will receive an all-expense paid trip to Atlanta for the final phase of the competition. Interviews will be conducted by a panel of leaders from fields in business, industry and government sectors in order to choose the 2011 state GOAL winner.
Students are nominated by faculty and the four finalists from CTC were chosen among 20 nominees in various programs. Each nominee was interviewed by administrators and instructors from the college and carefully selected. Finalists include, Mary Borgese - a nursing student from Acworth, Shawn Gabel - a nursing student from Woodstock, Shannon Hames - a technical communication student from Acworth, and Hughes - an accounting student from Acworth.
"Our judges had a really tough job," said GOAL coordinator Lucylle Shelton. "They were inspired and touched by so many of the stories and things they learned from each of the finalists."