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December 01, 2009
Gwinnett Tech Student Honored by the Georgia Association on Young Children
Mary Stoklas is GAYC Student of the Year
Gwinnett Tech early education student Mary Stoklas has been honored as the Student of the Year by the Georgia Association on Young Children (GAYC) in recognition of her academic and professional accomplishments.
This marks the third time in four years that a Gwinnett Tech student has earned the GAYC honor. Gwinnett Tech's early education program, now in just its sixth year, is led by Dr. Priscilla Smith, who was honored by GYAC as the Educator of the Year in 2006.
The Georgia Association on Young Children (GAYC) is a non-profit membership organization that promotes quality early care and education for young children. GAYC is the state affiliate of the Southern Early Childhood Association (SECA) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC sets the standards for the early childhood field and accredits child care programs internationally.
Now taking her last class and preparing to earn an associate degree in early childhood education, Stoklas has also been recognized for excellence at the national level. She is last year's gold medalist in the SkillsUSA national competition in the preschool teaching assistant division. SkillsUSA is held annually to recognize and encourage the achievements of technical education students.
In earning her degree, Stoklas will make good on a promise made to her grandson on his first birthday. "When my grandson turned one, I promised him that by the time he started kindergarten, grandma would have a college degree," says Stoklas. It was admittedly a bit of a rocky start. "I pulled into – and out of – the parking lot at Gwinnett Tech four times before I even got out of the car."
Stoklas had a long career selling educational materials before enrolling at Gwinnett Tech. "I had a wealth of life experience working with preschool children and in the education field, but this degree teaches me the actual theory and practice of teaching. It confirms what my instincts tell me to do," she explains.
"Mary is always a teacher. She helps others in class. She's the first one to explain things peer-to-peer," says Dr. Smith. "She's like a sponge – always looking for a better way to do things. She grasps ideas and gets excited about using them in the classroom."
Gwinnett Tech offers an associate of applied science degree and a diploma in early childhood education, and certificate programs in early childhood program administration and for a child development associate.
Gwinnett Tech also offers more than 45 degree, diploma and certificate program options that you can finish in two years or less. For more information on all programs, visit www.GwinnettTech.edu or call 770-962-7580.
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About Gwinnett Tech
Gwinnett Technical College, one of Georgia's largest technical colleges, is committed to delivering relevant knowledge to meet the workforce training needs of its community. The college offers more than 50 associate degree, diploma and certificate programs and hundreds of seminars, workshops and courses providing specialized training. GTC is Gwinnett County's largest provider of corporate training and now serves residents and businesses in north Fulton County. Gwinnett Technical College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the associate degree. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097,404-679-4500, www.sacscoc.org for questions about the accreditation of Gwinnett Technical College. For more information, visit www.GwinnettTech.edu.
A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.