Jodie Briggs Blacklock, a Truett-McConnell College graduate in the class of 2003, is one of five athletes now retired from their sports who will be inducted into the Northeast Georgia Sports Hall of Fame at a luncheon on August 29, 2009, at the Georgia Mountains Center in downtown Gainesville.
The Sports Hall of Fame is a division of the Northeast Georgia History Center, located on the campus of Brenau University.
Blacklock began her career as an air pistol markswoman when she was nine years old as a member of a 4-H BB gun team. Five years later, when she was in the ninth grade, she began shooting air pistols in competitions.
When she was a freshman at Truett-McConnell, she won the National Rifle Association Intercollegiate Pistol Championship by posting the highest combined score of precision air pistol and sport pistol. In 2003, she finished first at the USA Shooting National Championships held at Fort Benning, GA.
Blacklock, currently a resident of Washington State, received her bachelor’s degree from Clemson University after completing her two-year degree at Truett-McConnell.
She says that she has enjoyed the opportunities to travel and meet many people in her career. In Toronto in 2002 she won the silver medal in the International Junior Women’s 10-meter air pistol competition at the Crosman Airgun Grand Prix, the largest airgun competition in North America, drawing more than 250 international competitors.
A wonderful opportunity, Blacklock says, was traveling with the world championship airgun team to Finland to compete in the Olympic Trials.
North Georgia Technical College has recently named two Truett-McConnell College alumni to positions of leadership in the administration of the school.
Kathie Ivester (TMC class of 1995) was named dean of academic affairs at North Georgia Technical College. She graduated from North Georgia Technical College and then received an Associate in Applied Science degree from Truett-McConnell. From here she went to Piedmont College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, followed by a master’s degree in public administration.
Dr. Gail Taylor (TMC class of 2002) was named Director of Institutional Effectiveness for North Georgia Technical College on February 1, 2009. She holds an Associate in Applied Science from Truett-McConnell College, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Piedmont College and a doctorate in education from Capella University. Her duties in her current position including designing and coordinating NGTC’s efforts in institutional research, assessment and performance improvement.
With campuses in Clarkesville, Toccoa and Blairsville, North Georgia Technical College is the oldest technical college in the state of Georgia. It is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education and is also accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees.
Truett-McConnell College’s 2009 education graduates are an unusual group. Nine students received the Bachelor of Science in Education degree with a concentration in early childhood education in the college’s sixty-first annual commencement program on May 9, 2009. Of the nine, only Christina Wingo of Dahlonega comes from a family in which both parents hold college degrees. This means that a number of first- generation college graduates are entering the teaching profession in the public school systems of northeast Georgia. Wingo plans to enter a seminary and continue her studies in Christian education next year.
Tabitha Pritchett of Dawsonville wants to teach in an elementary school in her home county or the surrounding area, preferably in the second or third grade. She states: “TMC allowed me to learn a tremendous amount about myself. From the second I stepped on to the campus until the moment I received my degree, my years at Truett have been the learning experience of a lifetime.”
Two Habersham County students have aspirations to teach in the school system of their home county. Dannielle Barnes of Demorest comments: “Truett’s education program has been a breath of fresh air in my life.” Sheena Barron of Clarkesville adds: “The teacher education program at Truett has been an eye-opening experience.”
Rabun County is not only the home county of Justin Coalley of Tiger but also the place where he aspires to be a fourth or fifth grade teacher and to coach an athletic team at the middle school or high school level. He plans to be married in the summer of 2010 and will be happy teaching in the northeast Georgia mountains. He believes he has grown as a whole person because of his experience in TMC’s teacher education program.
Dr. Susan Gannaway, chairperson of the education department, and the other faculty members in the department are justly proud of the fact that the valedictorian of the 2009 graduating class is an education major, Stephanie Cole of Dacula. Cole plans to teach in Fulton County or perhaps in Forsyth County…or maybe in a private school. She says the teacher education program has provided her with a network of people whom she now calls her friends.
Martinez in middle Georgia is the hometown of Ashley Moffatt, but she wants to continue to live in the vicinity of Cleveland and teach in northeast Georgia. She comments: “Being at TMC has been a great experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
One of the nine graduates is a local student—Rebecca Freeman of Cleveland. She plans to teach second grade and work on her master’s degree. Eventually she would like to be certified to teach mathematics in middle school or high school. According to her, “My years at Truett-McConnell have been a joyful experience.”
Nancy Sakala of Manchester has firm plans for the next two years of her life. She will be married this summer and in July will move to Southeast Asia to teach third grade on a two-year commitment. She is excited about her opportunity to go abroad to teach but has strong feelings about leaving TMC: “Truett is not only a college; it’s a home. Being part of the education program here has enabled me to bring my Christian world view into the public education sector.”