Valdosta, GA—Imagine what started as a dream of obtaining her GED® brought her to the moment when she heard her name, Hannah Hadley, announced as the 2020 Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education (EAGLE) Student of the Year for Georgia. At the announcement of her name and with a banquet room filled with technical college administrators and staff, including adult education leaders from around the state, Hannah was asked to one more time share her winning speech, her story. EAGLE is a statewide program that recognizes and rewards excellence among students enrolled in adult education programs. Hadley, a Brooks County native, was announced as Wiregrass’ EAGLE Winner in November at a reception sponsored by the Valdosta Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce and ERCO Worldwide.
The EAGLE Award program is a vital component of the Certified Literate Community Program of Georgia, an umbrella organization that brings all sectors of a community together with literacy providers to map out the best use of resources already available. It also seeks to acquire the additional resources necessary to meet local literacy needs. Hannah was among 26 adult learners who participated in the 27th annual EAGLE adult education student of the year program. Hannah, who was selected by a panel of judges from business and education, will receive a full scholarship to the technical college of her choice. In addition, her fees and books will be paid for through a stipend from the Brenda Wise Scholarship Fund, established in 2014 in memory of Brenda Wise, a lifelong supporter of adult education.
Over the coming year, Hannah will travel the state as Georgia’s EAGLE ambassador for adult education, speaking to students, civic groups, legislators, and others about literacy and lifelong learning.
When asked what her first thought was when she heard her name, Hannah shared, “When they first announced that I was the 2020 state EAGLE winner, I was elated! I could not believe that me, Hannah, an African American girl from a small town in South Georgia, was now the TSCG Ambassador for the State of Georgia!”
Hannah was nominated by her Adult Education Instructor Toni Lewis. Ms. Lewis shared this about her nominee, “Hannah is a woman of strong character and believes in the power of education.” Hannah’s speech is her story about her journey to the adult education program at Wiregrass. She was a happy teenager and thriving in high school when her mom became ill. She was needed at home and ended up dropping out of school. Being the oldest child, she found herself caring for her younger siblings and her mom. She became a child with adult responsibilities. Her dream of working with children as a career and owning her own daycare seemed lost at the time. Perseverance and hard work have her back on track to fulfill her dreams. Hannah has already completed the first three tests with her GED® and will be taking the fourth and final test soon. After she earns her GED®, she plans to enroll at Wiregrass and major in Early Childhood Care and Education. Her goal is to open her own daycare.
After being named Wiregrass’ EAGLE winner, Hannah and her support team, submitted a video of her giving her winning speech for state competition. At the 2020 Adult Education Spring Conference Hannah learned she was one of the top eight finalists for the state and would go through another interview process where she would give her speech. Before a crowd of college officials from across the state, Hannah was named the 2020 EAGLE Winner and was awarded a check that will cover her tuition, fees, and books for two years at any technical college in Georgia.
Hannah shared this about the support she has received from the Wiregrass Adult Education instructors, “The Adult Education team has been there with me every step of the way. They answered every question and every phone call. It’s a great feeling knowing that you have a team that can back you every step of the way!” Toni Frawley, Wiregrass Adult Education Services Director South, serves as the college’s EAGLE Coordinator.
Wiregrass GED® classes are free to the public and offered in the 11 counties Wiregrass serves, as well as multiple sites off-campus. To learn more about the opportunities with the Adult Education program at Wiregrass, visit wiregrass.edu.