Education: Darlington’s SAT scores top local, state, U.S. averages. GNTC’s Christina Bullock first runner-up in GOAL awards. Berry names Dexter, Ngetich as Martindale winners.

Education: Darlington’s SAT scores top local, state, U.S. averages. GNTC’s Christina Bullock first runner-up in GOAL awards. Berry names Dexter, Ngetich as Martindale winners.

From Darlington’s website.

SAT scores for students at Darlington School were above the local, state and national averages, according to data released by The College Board. Darlington posted a total mean score of 1138 — 95 points higher than the state average of 1043, 108 points higher than the national average of 1030 and 53 points higher than the next best reported average score in the area.

The SAT was taken by 100 percent of Darlington’s 124 seniors who received an average of 570 in evidence-based reading and writing and an average of 567 in math.

“We credit our students’ performance on the SAT to our strong college-preparatory curriculum and the fact that we encourage our students to stretch themselves – to take the most rigorous curriculum that they can handle,” said Sam Moss (’63), dean of college guidance. “In analyzing our scores, it is also important to remember that all of our students are college prep – and, therefore, they all take either the SAT or the ACT. Most students take both tests. We believe that our curriculum prepares them very well for either.”

The SAT is one of the two standardized tests used for college admission. The test, administered by The College Board, is seen as one assessment of a student’s readiness for college. The ACT, administered by American College Testing, is the other. The SAT total score ranges from 400 to 1600, and the ACT composite score is based on a scale of 1 to 36. Colleges use whichever of the two scores a student submits for admissions purposes and have no preference for one over the other.

“Many colleges base admissions decisions solely on a student’s high school GPA and SAT or ACT scores,” said Moss. “Other colleges make the admissions decision by ‘reading holistically.’ This means that in addition to the GPA and test scores, a number of other factors may be considered. Factors such as leadership, athletics, activities, geographical and socioeconomic factors, teacher recommendations, and legacy status are among those that may be taken into consideration. Both the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, for example, make decisions by the holistic method.”

Christina Bullock and GNTC President Dr. Heidi Popham


Eight months after becoming Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership winner, the Technical College System of Georgia named Adult Echocardiography student Christina Bullock as the first runner-up for the top technical college student in the State of Georgia.

“We are so very proud of Christina for being selected as the first runner-up for the 2020 Student of the Year,” said GNTC President Dr. Heidi Popham. “She is a great ambassador for technical education.”

The announcement came during a live-streamed TCSG special presentation on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

“I am so appreciative of the opportunity that has been given to me,” said Bullock. “I had no idea being nominated as a GOAL student would be this inviting and give me such a sense of purpose during my technical education journey.”

The Echocardiography student is currently in her last semester at GNTC and is looking forward to graduating in December. Bullock is participating in clinicals at Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga and would like to continue working there after she graduates.

“I am getting to see the real-world of Echocardiography,” she said. “GNTC set me up with such a good environment and tools that prepared me for working at a health care facility.”

The 23-year-old was the first in her family to graduate high school, which she did while also working to help support herself and her father. During the middle of her senior year at Sonoraville High School, her father found out he had small cell lung cancer, an aggressive form of cancer with a low survival rate. Bullock lost her father after a four-year cancer battle.

Bullock said she wants to honor her father’s memory by continuing on her path to finishing her education. At the age of four, Bullock entered the foster care system after her mother was incarcerated. It wasn’t until her father, who didn’t know she existed, found her at age seven that she was able to leave the system behind. Bullock said her childhood was amazing after her father welcomed her home with open arms.

“I want to show my dad I made it,” she said. “Technical college is not just a stepping stone or a means to an end. It is my life’s work and it shows me that I was right to believe in myself.”

Bullock said when she became GNTC’s GOAL winner graduation seemed far off. March’s shelter in place order threatened to halt her education and disrupt her full-time employment. Fortunately, an anonymous donor from Florida read about Bullock and through the GNTC Foundation paid for six months of her mortgage.

“It was a lifesaver,” Bullock said. “It gave me the opportunity to focus on clinicals and not worry about having enough hours at work to pay for my mortgage.”

Bullock has continued to show a strong work ethic, leadership and reliability in classroom attendance despite everything she has endured, said Dawn Irwin, instructor of Echocardiography at GTNC. She has maintained a 3.38 GPA while working full-time.

“Christina is an amazing person who has overcome so many hardships, while remaining one of the most upbeat, funny and kind people I have ever met,” said Trish Wiggins, GNTC Student Life coordinator. “I am incredibly proud of her hard work this year and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know her. I cannot wait to see all she accomplishes in her bright future.”

As the first runner-up for the 2020 Student of the Year, should the state winner not be able to fulfill their duties, Bullock would step in and serve as TCSG’s student ambassador during a number of system and college functions throughout the year.


Jennifer Ngetich
Casey Dexter

Berry College has awarded two employees the 2020 Martindale Award, the highest faculty/staff award at the college.

Casey Dexter, associate professor of psychology and director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, and Jennifer Ngetich, Enterprise Systems web support specialist, received the award.  

In this past year, Dexter not only became the director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, but also began serving as co-chair of the Academic Affairs Reopening Committee. According to his peers, he has been an optimistic and creative aid to faculty in teaching well in unprecedented ways. 

“Without reservation, his efforts have bolstered faculty’s ability to deliver their courses, encouraged a willingness to be innovated, educated faculty about important issues pertaining to higher education, and made faculty more aware of the many resources that can support their professional development, regardless of their career status,” one peer stated. 

Ngetich played a prominent role in helping Berry transition to remote learning last spring. Before the pandemic even hit, Ngetich created the plan to transition to Canvas and aided faculty in moving their courses to the new platform.  

“She was quick to act, worked tirelessly, and with great patience.  …The transition to remote learning would have been a nightmare without her leadership, coupled with a willingness to put in long hours to ensure things were ready at start-up and continued seamlessly,” another peer stated.  

The Martindale Awards of Distinction were endowed by alumna Susan Byrd Martindale and her husband, Larry, to recognize and reward members of the Berry community who promote continuous improvement, implement innovative approaches, and inspire others to extraordinary achievement. Faculty and staff are nominated by their peers across Berry’s campus via letters of recommendation. 

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