July 14--  A 2014 graduate of Vidalia High School is the winner of this year's Youth Apprenticeship Award from the Georgia Department of Education.

Andrew Logan Lawrence accepted the award Tuesday at ceremonies in Atlanta.  He was nominated by Donna Collins, the high school's apprenticeship training coordinator, "Once apprenticeship students graduate from high school, they are tracked to find out where they are going and what credentials they've earned since they've been out of high school.  It's a great accomplishment for him."

loganaward(L-R) Denise Parson, School Nutritionist and Logan's High School Teacher; Nancy Palmer, Chicken of the Sea Human Resource Director and Logan's employer during school; Dwayne Hobbs, Program Manager for Georgia's Work-Based Learning and Youth Apprenticeship Programs; Andrew Logan Lawrence and Donna Collins, Vidalia High School's Work-Based Learning and Youth Apprentice Program Coordinator.

Lawrence is a pre-law student at Armstrong State University. "It shocked me that first of all there was a teacher in high school, Mrs. Donna Collins, who would nominate me three years after I graduated and I was even more shocked to have won.  For the selection committee to feel I'm deserving of such an award makes me feel great," he said.

During high school, he took food science courses and in his senior year  worked for Nancy Palmer in the Human Resources Department at Chicken of the Sea, "You never know.  I didn't know I could take these two things that I love, food science and law and policy, and put them together.  I really have Mrs. Denise Parson, my food science instructor at Vidalia High School, to thank for showing me I could take these things and put them together and build a career on it." he said.

This summer Lawrence spent six weeks in Washington interning in the office of 1st District Congressman Buddy Carter where he felt his roots in rural Georgia were valuable.  "I hail from an area where farming, agriculture and food cultivation are important staples to our economy.  Every year the agriculture industry contributes $74.9 billion to our state economy.  If I can be an instrumental part one day in making sure that as a nation we are progressing legislation that will keep our state in the forefront of food cultivation, then I feel like my career will have been a success," Lawrence observed.

According to Collins, Lawrence's progress is testament to the value of work-based learning programs at the high school, "I was really proud.  That's what it's all about, students achieving things, and he has definitely made Vidalia look good this week in Atlanta.  All of our teachers can feel proud that we had a part in helping him get where he is," she said.

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