Phone: (770) 787-1330 Fax: (770) 784-2950 Email:


January 26, 2017

Work Based Learning Students from Alcovy, Eastside, Newton College and Career Academy, and Newton High School, along with 50 adult evaluators from business and industry, participated in Newton College and Career Academy’s annual Aspiring Young Professionals (AYP) Dinner on Tuesday, January 24.  During this event, each Work Based Learning (WBL) student was required to wear professional dress and sit at a table in a formal setting to network with an adult evaluator.   Each evaluator utilized a grading rubric to rate students at their table on their greeting with handshake, appropriateness of dress, ability to make conversation, courtesy, and table manners. 

“These are necessary life skills and the students have been honing them since the first day of school,” said Debra Lary, Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator for Newton County School System. “In fact, the Work Based Learning students from each school were required to attend sessions throughout the year on dining etiquette, business conversation, interview skills, and business dress and appearance.”

Lary added, “The AYP Dinner is one of the highlights of the students’ school year as they have the opportunity to put into practice what they have learned.”

At the end of the dinner, evaluators turned in their score sheets and after each school’s WBL coordinator reviews them the information and scores will be provided to the students. Each WBL student will receive grades for attendance, dress, the evaluation score total, and writing thank you notes to the adults sitting at their table.

The dinner was held at the Newton College and Career Academy with the NCCA Culinary Department providing a delicious meal of baked chicken, sautéed green beans, seasoned potatoes, salad, and dessert.  The culinary students at NCCA along with Chef Instructors- Chef Scott Quinlan and Chef Charlotte Joy, prepared and served the meal to over 240 participants. 

Mrs. Shakila Henderson-Baker, District 3 representative on the Newton County Board of Education, was the guest speaker for the evening and provided wise advice that would apply to everyday skills not only in the work place but also in life.  At the end of the program, awards were presented to four students—one from each high school-- who stood out during the meet and greet portion of the night. Secret evaluators were placed in the audience to find a student who would initiate the conversation and also seemed at ease with talking to someone they’ve just met. The winners this year were: Abbie Queen from Eastside High School, Jerome Belcher from Newton High School, Andrew Fincher from Alcovy High School, and Sarah Cox from Newton College and Career Academy. 

Several special guests were also in attendance at the dinner, including: Ms. Barbara Wall, Georgia DOE- CTAE Director; Ms. Diane Sandifer, Georgia DOE- Dept. of Ed Career Coach, Greg Guhl from Georgia DOE Youth Apprenticeship Program, Scott Chapin from Georgia DOE; Ms. Sylvia Phillips, CTSO Coordinator for GA. DOE; Dr. Craig Lockhart- Deputy Superintendent of NCSS; Dr. Tim Schmitt, NCSS CTAE Director; Ms. Katrina Young, Director at Georgia Piedmont Technical College; Newton County Commissioner, Lanier Sims; Ms. Debbie Harper, Newton/Covington Chamber of Commerce; Jeff Cher, Principal at Eastside HS; Chad Walker, Principal at Newton College and Career Academy; and many volunteers representing business and industry as well as several dedicated teachers.  Terry Boddie from the Rockdale/Newton Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Marketing Media Management led the Invocation.

The NCSS WBL Employer of the Year for 2017-2018 was announced as Strauss & Frost, LLC.  Previous NCSS WBL Employers of the Year in attendance included: Nisshinbo, Covington News, Piedmont Newton Hospital, and Marketing Media Management.  Strauss & Frost LLC. will be honored at the NCSS CTAE Awards Ceremony on February 28, 2017 and at the NCSS Employer Appreciation Dinner on April 25, 2017.

Newton County School System Work Based Learning coordinators –Ms. Debra Lary, Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator for NCSS and Work Based Learning Coordinator for NCCA; Ms. Loineda Dean, Career and Technical Instruction (CTI) Coordinator for NCCA; Chris Newsham, WBL & CTI Coordinator for Alcovy HS; Alisa Echols, WBL & CTI Coordinator for Eastside High School; Julie Brand, WBL Coordinator for Newton High School; Tyshema Mitchell, CTI Coordinator for Newton High School; and Jill McGiboney- WBL Support, work with the students throughout the school year to prepare them for a successful transition to higher education or the work force. 

The Work Based Learning/ Youth Apprenticeship program for Newton County Schools is offered to high school students who are 16 years or older and who have dependable transportation, along with good grades, behavior, and great teacher and counselor recommendations.  Each student must be on track to graduate and have an identified career goal. Throughout the school year, each WBL student is required to attend meetings and functions such as the AYP Dinner in order to receive a class grade. High school students interested in participating in next year’s WBL program should contact their school-based coordinator to request an application.