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Jobs for Georgia Graduates holds initiation ceremony
A-JGG induction pic 1
Counselor Cherie Ferguson swears in co-presidents Ava Walker (left) and Alondra Zavala during Tuesdays ceremony. - photo by Amy French Dawson County News

The Dawson County High School Jobs for Georgia Graduates (JGG) program initiated its members for the 2016-17 school year Tuesday morning at the Performing Arts Center.

JGG is a youth development program that was designed to help students overcome obstacles as they as promote success rates in education, graduation and meaningful employment.

The organization is a state affiliate of the national Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) program.

During the ceremony, 51 juniors and seniors were inducted as members and officers were installed.

Guest speaker Rose Procter, who is the director of the BB&T Center of Ethical Business Leadership at the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia, talked to the students about leadership, thinking critically about themselves and what they consider success.

"You guys talked about leadership development. What is leadership? How do you define leadership? We are going to talk about things that are not easy to define but are crucial to your success," she said.

"I want you to be able to articulate not only what it is to lead, but what it is to follow," Procter said.

During the introduction of the program, students Daysie Gonzales and Rustin Howell presented the goals of the program that included leadership development through activities, citizenship, social awareness and career preparation.

Procter talked about those goals and explained that to find success, the students must first define success. She pointed to the way that idea has changed over the years, citing the definition from 1913.

"In 1913, success was defined in America in the Webster's Dictionary as the attainment of good health, community respect and good character," she said. "What do you think the definition is today?

"The definition today is the attainment of wealth, fame and status."

Her question then was, who changed that definition?

"We did," she said.

Procter challenged the students to think about leadership and what, in their mind, would equal a successful life.

"Maybe it's freedom," she said. "If nothing else, education gives you the ability to see options, the ability to critically think."

She went on to give some of her own history and how it shaped her life and the ways she views success. Procter said though her view may be different, everyone has something to offer.

"Leadership is different for every single one of us," she said.

The expectations for students who have access to this kind of training will be higher she told the students.

"When you guys graduate and you have JGG on your resume, we have certain expectations. We hold you to a higher bar."

Students who are a part of the program have access to pre-employment training, work skills practice, motivational activities and soft skills development.

Procter said that in the state of Georgia 89 percent of people who lose their job do so because of soft skills.

The JGG program has been at the high school for more than 15 years and has served more than 600 students, according to Kathie Fodor who works for the Georgia Department of Labor at the school.

Fodor oversees the program and works directly with the students to find jobs, find scholarships and even track the students for a year after they graduate.

Students who were inducted were introduced and presented with certificates.

The officers for the upcoming year were also installed with Ava Walker and Alondra Zavala both being named co-presidents.