GNTC honors spring 2023 graduates

Sunday, May 7, 2023–3:18 p.m.

-GNTC News release-

Rocio Alcantar Serrano (left) and Kevin Yi chat before the rehearsal starts.

More than 150 Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) students crossed the stage of the Dalton Convention Center on Thursday, May 4, to the cheers of their families, friends, and instructors.

Dr. Heidi Popham, president of GNTC, welcomed guests, congratulated the graduates, and introduced Cayla Pemberton, the winner of GNTC’s 2023 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL), as the keynote commencement speaker.

“Fifty-one or 32% of you are graduating from a Hope Career Grant program,” Dr. Popham said. “This is a high demand program … aligned with industries within the State of Georgia where there are more jobs available than there is a skilled workforce available to fill those positions. You have a very promising future in front of you.”

Dr. Popham noted that 69% of the graduates are first-generation college students and 10 are Dual Enrollment students who are most likely receiving a college award before they receive their high school diplomas.

Pemberton, a Dual Enrollment student at Ridgeland High School, attends Automotive Technology classes on GNTC’s Walker County Campus in Rock Spring and will receive her high school diploma on May 25. She is expected to graduate from GNTC in spring 2024, Dr. Popham said.

GNTC Cosmetology instructor Susan Stephens, left, and graduate Nathan Faircloth pose in front of the selfie banner.

Pemberton said her “passion for cars was ignited” when she purchased a derelict 1967 Ford Bronco.

“I became hungry to learn everything I could about how it worked and how I could turn this neglected, beat-up truck into everything I envisioned it to be,” she said, adding that at that time she could not afford college and had no future plans after high school.

When the Dual Enrollment coordinator spoke with her about the opportunity to take classes in the field she was “most passionate about” at GNTC for little-to-no cost for her, she grasped the opportunity, Pemberton said. She characterized GNTC as a “blessing” to her.

“It’s given me the confidence I need to feel prepared to jump right into the workforce,” Pemberton said. She has learned not only automotive skills, but also the work ethic that will bring her closer to her goals in life, she explained.

“GNTC has made me realize how proud I am of myself and just how far I’ve come,” Pemberton said, adding that she is also a first-generation college student.

Stuart Phillips, vice president of Student Affairs at GNTC, recognized High Honor graduates with a 4.0 grade point average and Honor graduates with a 3.5 to 3.99-grade point average. Phillips also led a special recognition for graduates that are veterans, FBLA Collegiate members, SkillsUSA members, first-generation students, and Student Government Association members.

(From left) Martika D. Hernandez, Edith Fortanel, Karli P. Turner, and Tatum L. Grady are excited to receive their associate degrees in Respiratory Care.

Dr. Elizabeth Anderson, vice president of Academic Affairs at GNTC, presented the graduates, and Dr. Popham conferred the graduates with associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates.

The ceremony concluded with closing remarks by Dr. Popham in which she challenged the graduates not to let this graduation be the end of their educational journey.

Phillips administered the GNTC Alumni Association Oath.

Listed are graduates who participated in the 2023 Spring Commencement Ceremony, showing (from left) the graduate’s name and program of study. This list does not include students who have graduated but did not participate in the ceremony or students who registered for the ceremony after the commencement program was printed:

Associate of Applied Science degree   

Savannah Adams, Accounting

Luis A. Alarcon, Construction Management

Alex Alvarez, Industrial Systems Technology

Pablo Alvarez, Industrial Systems Technology

Crystal Marie Anderson, Business Technology

Melinda K. Angell, Business Healthcare Technology

Jesenia Azbill, Business Management

Joseph Brett Baker, Respiratory Care

Megan Leigh Bethune, Business Management

Joseph Bisher, Industrial Systems Technology

Joseph P. Blankenship Jr., Respiratory Care

Deirdre Bobo, Computer Support Specialist

Kevin Michael Brewer, Cybersecurity

Donald Briggs III, Construction Management

Brice Bryant, Business Management

Jonathan William Casey, Computer Support Specialist

Victor Manuel Cervantes Jr., Business Management

Angelita Chavarria, Early Childhood Care and Education

Alexander Frederick Lincoln Cheeks, Drafting Technology

Amber Deanna Cole, Accounting

Edgar Jose Cornejo-Escutia, Industrial Systems Technology

Izabel Deniz Cruz, Business Management

Houston Chase Edwards, Industrial Systems Technology

Kristen M. Findley, Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Jennifer Flores, Business Management

Edith Fortanel, Respiratory Care

Elizabeth Garcia, Early Childhood Care and Education
Zackery Garmon, Respiratory Care

Rene Ariel Gonzalez, Construction Management

Tatum L. Grady, Respiratory Care

Lacey Paige Hammontree, Marketing Management

Mariah Hawkins, Respiratory Care

Martika D. Hernandez, Respiratory Care

Morgan M. Hightower, Early Childhood Care and Education

Nathan D. Holst, Respiratory Care

Rhonda Rashell Horton, Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Lesley Mckenna Johnston, Respiratory Care

Andrea Marie Jordan, Social Work Assistant

Sylvia Kamp, Computer Support Specialist

Andrew M. Kaplan, Industrial Systems Technology

Kristi Kelley, Early Childhood Care and Education

Shyann Faith King, Early Childhood Care and Education

Kelsey Lane Kirk, Business Management

Timothy Isaiah Kittle, Criminal Justice Technology

Amanda Lee, Business Management

Dafne Anaite Leonard, Early Childhood Care and Education

Mya H. Lively, Cybersecurity

Tiffany Lucas, Accounting

Mariah Hawkins is thrilled to receive her associate degree in Respiratory Care.

Cassandra Mairs, Respiratory Care

Demetrica Mallory, Business Technology

Victoria A. Martinez, Health Care Management

Kevin Mateo, Construction Management

Edgar Mendiola, Automotive Technology

Caitlyn Ruth Morgan, Social Work Assistant

Ashley Morris, Early Childhood Care and Education

Haley Newman, Health Care Management

Johana Nunez, Business Management

Abraham Osiel Ocana, Industrial Systems Technology

Torye B. Parker, Accounting

Levi Kole Pettigrew, Industrial Systems Technology

Justin Race, Precision Machining and Manufacturing

Hugo Enrique Ramirez, Culinary Arts

Cindy Ramos Mendoza, Business Technology

Aixa Rodriguez, Marketing Management

David D. Roper, Applied Technical Management

Christina Renae Ross, Accounting

Molly Ryan Schrimsher, Early Childhood Care and Education

Anna R. Smith, Early Childhood Care and Education

Melissa D. Sorrells, Health Information Management Technology

Jessica D. Thompson, Accounting

Cassie Leanna Townsend, Respiratory Care

Karli P. Turner, Respiratory Care

Keven Steven Vivas, Business Management

Camilla A. Webb, Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Stephen D. Wheelus, Industrial Systems Technology

Meagan White, Precision Machining and Manufacturing

Jacob F. Worthington, Technical Studies

Marisa Young, Early Childhood Care and Education

Sandra June Young, Accounting

Dr. Heidi Popham (left) presents Itzel Hurtado with a Technical Certificate of Credit for Human Resource Management Specialist.

Associate of Science in Nursing degree   

Terri Andrea Foltz, Nursing

Relecia Renee Garrett, Nursing

Jordan R. Hughes, Nursing

Mary Jo Morter, Nursing

Demetria Ann Staley, Nursing

Courtney N. Velasquez, Nursing


Steffany T. Adams, Business Healthcare Technology

Juan M. Berrios Rosado, Computer Support Specialist

Jessica M. Cabe, Accounting

Arnoldo Canales Fraire, Industrial Systems Technology

Kadie Carlene Cardin, Business Healthcare Technology

Lenora M. Gasca, Business Healthcare Technology

Tyler Howland, Auto Collision Repair

Brandon A. Juarez Pelico, Electrical Systems Technology

Anthony Kretschmer, Welding and Joining Technology

Ricky Sebastian Mendoza Bartolome, Industrial Systems Technology

Amanda D. Millican, Business Management

Cristhian David Padron Ledesma, Electrical Systems Technology

Brittany Nichole Rampley, Automotive Technology

Landon W. Stephens, Electrical Systems Technology

Nickolas Swank, Welding and Joining Technology

Colby Lane Thompson, Welding and Joining Technology

Quinberli M. Velasquez, Business Management

Raymond Delone Velasquez, Air Conditioning Technology

Noah Warren, Electrical Systems Technology

Kevin Yi, Welding and Joining Technology

Technical Certificate of Credit   

Rocio Alcantar Serrano, Healthcare Billing and Coding Specialist

Karla Hope Bagby, Clinical Office Assistant

Bethany Brianna Bartley, Clinical Office Assistant

Roland Bowen Sr., Clinical Office Assistant

Charlotte Welchel Bowman, Clinical Office Assistant

Lauren Electra Brown, Emergency Medical Technician

Gilberto Calachij-Ajqui, Administrative Support Assistant

Odalis V. Cardoza, Early Childhood Care and Education Basics

Candida J. Celeste, Clinical Office Assistant

Harley Nicole Cooper Chastain, Health Care Assistant

Hope A. Cooper, Nail Technician

Christopher Patrick Cromer II, Administrative Support Assistant

Marissa Culbreth, Healthcare Billing and Coding Specialist

Holley Nicole Dupree, Human Resource Management Specialist

Diamond C. Gibbons, Clinical Office Assistant

Norma Alicia Gonzalez, Human Resource Management Specialist

Kera J. Goswick, Clinical Office Assistant

Patrick Hanson Jr., Nail Technician

Jathan Harding, Logistics and Supply Chain Technician

Emily A. Hennon, Clinical Office Assistant

Miriana Baneli Hernandez Reynoso, Administrative Support Assistant

Jada Hudgins, Clinical Office Assistant

Itzel Hurtado, Human Resource Management Specialist

Mekaela King, Clinical Office Assistant

Asrealla M. Lee, Nail Technician

Stephany Lopez-Alvarez, Clinical Office Assistant

Zachary Calvin Thomas MacKay, Air Conditioning System Maintenance Technician

Hailey Nicole Marshall, Early Childhood Care and Education Basics

I’deria M. McKnight, Clinical Office Assistant

Cynthia Miranda, Clinical Office Assistant

Hannia Morales Valladares, Crime Scene Investigation

Shanda Morgan, Clinical Office Assistant

Emily Noel Muccitelli, Healthcare Billing and Coding Specialist

Jesse Luke Nicholson, Basic Shielded Metal Arc Welder

Asma Jaysam Odeh, Administrative Support Assistant

Michelle Pagleno, Health Information Technician

Rachel L. Pelanek, Emergency Medical Technician

Melisa M. Perez, Human Resource Management Specialist

Ivone Pineda-Pineda, Nail Technician

Leslie Nichole Ray, Clinical Office Assistant

Adriana Elizabeth Real-Vela, Administrative Support Assistant

Brittany A. Reyes, Early Childhood Care and Education Basics

Cayenne A. Russ, Central Sterile Supply Processing Technician – Adv

Auriel L. Sheffield, Nail Technician

Pamela Sills, Clinical Office Assistant

Lindsey Nichole Simpkins, Clinical Office Assistant

Angelica M. Torres, Commercial Truck Driving – Class A

Victoria R. Updike, Early Childhood Care and Education Basics

Jonathan P. Walker, Advanced Shielded Metal Arc Welder

Daisy White, Emergency Medical Technician

Gloria M. Williams, Clinical Office Assistant

Ashton Brooke Woodring, Clinical Office Assistant

Local Weather