Moultrie Observer

Around the Region

February 6, 2013

Sumner man picked for Moultrie Tech's EAGLE

SYLVESTER — Thomas Bell of Sumner has been chosen to represent Moultrie Technical College (MTC) at the EAGLE Leadership Institute in February 2013 in Atlanta. The Leadership Institute recognizes and honors those students who have demonstrated superior achievement in adult education classes and programs including GED test preparation.

The Technical College System of Georgia, through its Office of Adult Education, sponsors the annual Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education (EAGLE) Leadership Institute.

Bell, who was born in 1963 in Stanton, California, and raised in Vero Beach, Florida, with four siblings, says he moved around quite a bit with ten homes to his credit. He is currently married to wife Joi and is the father of two children, Jordan, 19, and Noah, 14.

Of his decision to enroll in Moultrie Tech’s Adult Education program, he says, “I felt it was time to finish my education and prove to myself and my family that that I could. It is hard to get a job without an education.”

Bell says he quit high school in the eleventh grade to work in construction. “A few years ago when the job market slowed down, I lost my job. I soon found out that education mattered more than my experience. Employers didn’t want to hire you without a high school diploma,” he said. “That’s when I made the decision to return to school.”

Although Bell has extensive hands-on experience as a concrete finisher, carpenter, foreman and small equipment operator, he strongly believes a formal education is important for adults in Georgia. “The most important reason is that adults with an education have more self-confidence and are able to be better parents and better citizens.”

From his personal experience in Moultrie Tech’s Adult Education and GED test preparation classes, he says, “Earning my GED [diploma] has made me a stronger and more confident man. I now feel whole and am able to pass that confidence on to my family. This had made me feel like a better husband and father. I am proud to be able to set an example for my family.”

With his GED diploma in hand, Bell says, “I feel empowered to do something amazing. If I become an EAGLE, I can use my experience to motivate and encourage others.”

He even has plans to use his message if he is named Georgia’s State EAGLE in February. “It is my hope that my story will encourage others to return to school no matter how old they are. Getting an education is a huge commitment, but the payoff is worth the work.”

Now that he has taken and passed the official GED test through the MTC Adult Education program in Sylvester, he says he hopes to continue his education in a credit program at Moultrie Tech and possibly pursue a career in the computer technology field.

Bell's favorite reading materials are comic books and cartoon strips. He says he enjoys watching racing and football, and his hobbies include hunting, fishing and camping. His free time is spent with his wife and children, especially on family trips to the beach.

Active in his community, Bell is involved with the local Boy Scouts of America troop at the Science Center and at areas zoos, with the Worth County High School Band Boosters, and in his church choir and in teaching Vacation Bible School.

Representing MTC’s Worth County Adult Education program, Bell competed for this year’s Moultrie Tech EAGLE position with students from the College’s service delivery area of Colquitt, Tift, Turner and Worth counties. Students chosen from programs in those counties were Lannie Walker of Colquitt County, Maribel Castillo of Tift County, and Katherine Yancey of Turner County. The Adult Education students were evaluated through a speech and interview process.

EAGLE is the first statewide program in the nation that recognizes and rewards excellence among students enrolled in the adult education and literacy programs. This student recognition program is designed to create greater awareness of educational opportunities that are available in local communities across the state and to foster greater involvement in lifelong learning pursuits.

For more information on Moultrie Technical College’s Adult Education program and on obtaining a GED diploma, contact Douglas Hall at (229) 217-4181 or log onto the college’s website at


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