Chatt Tech preps for 1,200 grads; largest class yet
by Kyle Dominy
kdominy@cherokeetribune.com
June 03, 2011 12:00 AM | 2462 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
James and Shay Montgomery of Canton have both finished up at Chattahoochee Technical College with Management and Supervisory Development degrees and will be graduating June 16. They will be among more than 1,200 graduates.<br>Cherokee Tribune/Todd Hull
James and Shay Montgomery of Canton have both finished up at Chattahoochee Technical College with Management and Supervisory Development degrees and will be graduating June 16. They will be among more than 1,200 graduates.
Cherokee Tribune/Todd Hull
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CANTON - This month, Chattahoochee Technical College will hold its largest graduation.

The school, which became the largest technical college in the state after its 2009 merger with North Metro Technical College and Appalachian Technical College, will have more than 1,200 graduates at the end of it spring quarter.

That is an increase of more than 300 graduates from last year's class.

"More and more students are looking at technical colleges these days," Chattahoochee Technical College Associate Provost Lex Rainey said. "I feel like we'll continue to see that number go up."

The graduation is set for June 16 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre near Interstates 75 and 285.

Among the graduates will be a Cherokee County couple.

James and Shay Montgomery, on Canton, will walk across the stage to pick up associate degrees in management and supervisory development.

With both in their mid-30s, they are not traditional students.

"I've always wanted to get back into school," James said. "It's never too late to get an education."

James, a native of Michigan, recently launched a home-based sports officiating business.

Shay works for Job Corps, a federally funded program that helps at-risk youth attend college. She said she thought it only fitting that she had a college degree herself.

"I'm helping people get into college," she said. "I felt that I should have a degree too."

Chattahoochee Tech has currently has a student enrollment of more than 11,000 students over eight campuses in metro Atlanta, including Canton and Woodstock.

Rainey said he expected the schools enrollment to continue to increase in the coming years.

One challenge facing Chattahoochee Tech, however, Rainey said, is upcoming changes to Georgia's HOPE Scholarship. State lawmakers reduced the amount of funds to be distributed to students and eliminated the $300 book allowance.

"This is a huge focus for us because it puts a larger burden on the students," Rainey said. "We are working hard to get that information out to students to let them know what their obligations will be."

The lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship nearly covered all the cost of attendance for the Montgomerys.

"We were very fortunate to have HOPE," James said. "There were many quarters we didn't have to pay anything our of pocket."

Both James and Shay said the HOPE Scholarship was a major factor in their decision to return to school.

The couple will continue their education in the fall. They have applied to Reinhardt University, where they hope to earn bachelor's degrees in organizational management and leadership.

Shay said the HOPE Scholarship change would not deter their decision to continue with their education.

Another change coming to Chattahoochee Tech is the way the school schedules classes.

The school is transitioning away from the quarter system; in August the school year will be divided into two semesters.

The change is mandated by the Technical College System of Georgia, Rainy said.

The change will align Chattahoochee Tech and other technical colleges across the state with traditional colleges and universities.

The change will ease student transfers from school to school.
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