Gwinnett Tech Names Shelly Dirig 2014 GOAL Winner

November 19, 2013

Gwinnett Tech Names Shelly Dirig 2014 GOAL Winner
Earning a GED® Credential Paved the Way to College and a Healthcare Career

(left to right) Gwinnett Tech President Sharon Bartels; Dr. Penny Joyner Waddell, Speech program director, Gwinnett Tech; and Shelly Dirig, 2014 GOAL winner.

Shelly Dirig, a healthcare science student, is the winner of Gwinnett Technical College's 2014 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL).

The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) sponsors the GOAL program, which recognizes outstanding technical college students and honors excellence in academics and leadership. Local GOAL winners are selected at each of the state's 24 technical colleges.

Dirig, from Snellville, was nominated by Dr. Penny Joyner Waddell, Speech program director, who called her a "superstar." "Shelly is exactly the type of student we want to represent Gwinnett Tech. She has her goals clearly defined, she's motivated and she's made the right choices to take herself to the next level."

Dirig's path to this honor is years in the making. A mother of three with a commitment to volunteering, Dirig earned her GED® credential at Gwinnett Tech in 2011. Acknowledging that she hadn't completed high school was a "secret I kept from the world," she says. Just three months later, she began her college studies at GTC with plans to fulfill a life-long dream of becoming a sonographer. Now a campus leader and selected to be GTC Student Ambassador, Dirig is also a member of the college Toastmaster's Club.

Gwinnett Tech's other GOAL finalists include:

  • Trevell Pittman, of Loganville, Business Management
  • Ben Martin, of Buford, Air Conditioning Technology
  • Aidan Hegarty, of Atlanta, Computer Programming

Judges for the GOAL competition included Matthew Holtkamp, president, Holtkamp Heating and Air Conditioning; Margaret Halbert, associate vice president of Primerica Community and Foundation Relations; Deirdra Cox, vice president, Community Development at Brand Bank; Ryan Hawk, Vice President of Business Development at Peach State Federal Credit Union; J. Todd Holland, vice president of Special Product Transportation at A.C. White Relocation; and Elizabeth Warland, vice president of North American Sales at Purgenix, Inc.

As Gwinnett Tech's GOAL winner, Dirig will continue on to the statewide GOAL competition. The state's GOAL winner serves as the student ambassador for technical education in Georgia.

GTC offers more than 50 degree, diploma and certificate student options that can be completed in two years or less. For more information, visit or call 770-962-7580.

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