An Augusta Technical College student who juggles life with a 6-year-old daughter and a husband serving in Iraq was named the college's student of the year Monday.
Kimberly Wilson, who is pursuing a degree in the business office technology program, is the college's Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership winner. The honor goes to the college's most outstanding student.
But college almost didn't happen for her.
Mrs. Wilson, 24, originally planned to pursue a law degree. She got a college scholarship about the same time she got pregnant. She was 17.
So she gave up the scholarship, married her boyfriend, had the baby and followed her husband to Germany for three years as a military wife and mother.
When Mrs. Wilson returned, she took a job as a day care worker before realizing her dream did not have to die.
She could become a paralegal after attending Augusta Technical College.
She signed up for classes last year and has maintained a 4.0 grade point average in the program.
"I feel like I overcame a stumbling block of seeing that school was not out of the question just because I had other things going on. I could still be a wife and a mother and a student," Mrs. Wilson said.
She immediately impressed her instructors.
Instructor Leanne Lovering said Mrs. Wilson is a perfectionist, noting that she had a streak of perfect test scores.
"She represents what's best about technical education," Ms. Lovering said. "She'd make a perfect legal secretary."
Mrs. Wilson will go on to compete against GOAL winners from other Georgia technical schools in May.
The state winner is awarded a car and serves as the statewide student of the year and state ambassador of technical education.
Augusta Technical students are nominated by instructors for the award.
After a screening process, the college selected four semifinalists who were interviewed by a committee.
Based on the interview, the committee chose the winner, who was named during Monday's meeting of the Optimist Club of Augusta at Sixth and Watkins restaurant.
The college's other finalists were Rebecca Roberts, a culinary arts student, and Jaudon Byrd and Julie Holberton, students in the radiologic technology program.
Mrs. Wilson is a native of Cadwell, Ga., near Dublin. Her husband, Sgt. Andrew Wilson Jr., is serving his second tour of duty in Iraq with the 63rd Signal Battalion.
"I know he will be excited," Mrs. Wilson said about her husband, who is expected home in nine months.
Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or firstname.lastname@example.org.