Left to right: Melissa Burtle, director of Adult Education, Southern Regional Technical College; Judy Abell, adult education instructor, SRTC Tifton; Chiffon Johnson, Shirley Carver Miller scholarship recipient; Bonnie Sayles, executive director of Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County
Chiffon Johnson is the first Tifton recipient of the Shirley Carver Miller scholarship and the first for Southern Regional Technical College. Eight Georgia residents were recipients in 2016.
The scholarship, created by the Technical College System of Georgia, honors Georgia’s former First Lady and wife of former governor and senator Zell Miller. It is awarded to GED diploma recipients who are nominated by a Certified Literate Community Program, are legal residents of the state of Georgia, and who are accepted for enrollment or currently enrolled at a TCSG technical college
Johnson is enrolled at Southern Regional Technical College, Tifton Campus, in the medical billing and coding program. Her plan is to eventually earn a diploma in early childhood development.
“I would like to work in the medical field and one day open my own child day care,” Johnson said.
Johnson started GED classes in January 2015 when she decided she had to do something to be a better mother and provider for my kids. “My main goal is to get off public assistance,” she said.
She worked in local fast food restaurants until her youngest child was born in 2014. “Caring for my own children has taught me the need for quality day care,” Johnson said. “This scholarship will help me be able to attend SRTC and get a job in medical billing or early child care. A better job will mean better benefits and working hours.”
In her letter of recommendation, Johnson’s GED teacher Judy Abell, an adult education instructor at Southern Regional Technical College, Tifton Campus, wrote: “Chiffon did not give up even though she faced some personal family difficulties and also had to take off a period of time for surgery in 2015. However, she came back strong and has persevered to obtain her GED. Chiffon is a single mom with a young child still at home.”
According to the scholarship website, “Shirley Miller is a warrior for literacy. As a former first lady of Georgia, she became and remains one of adult literacy’s strongest advocates. Her passion is that Georgia stays focused on the eradication of illiteracy through support of literacy programs, adult education and the Certified Literacy Community Program in Georgia.
Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County is one of 37 Certified Literate Communities in the state. As executive director of LVTTC, Bonnie Sayles nominated Johnson, saying, “I am proud of Chiffon for trying to make a better life for herself and her children. She is a real example to others in Tifton in her same situation and as such, will spark others to make the effort to attend Adult Education at SRTC Tifton.”
For more information about tutoring through Literacy Volunteers, call (229) 391-2527. For more information about adult education classes at SRTC Tifton, call (229) 391-2615.