O'Neal wins 2013 Sangster scholarship - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

O'Neal wins 2013 Sangster scholarship

(L to R) Connie Sangster,  Melissa Sangster, and  Bob Sangster with Michael Adam O'Neal (GSW Photo) (L to R) Connie Sangster, Melissa Sangster, and Bob Sangster with Michael Adam O'Neal (GSW Photo)

Michael Adam O'Neal of Leesburg was selected as the recipient of the Lt. Michael Sangster endowed scholarship from the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy (LEA) Class of 13-02.      

O'Neal, who was also selected as the SGTC LEA Class Representative, was recognized at the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy graduation ceremony recently in front of members of the Sangster family and friends, fellow LEA graduates, college officials, and Governor's Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) Publicist Lou Crouch, who helped endow the Lt. Michael Sangster Scholarship initially. 

O'Neal was selected for the scholarship based on academic performance, leadership qualities, and financial need.  O'Neal graduated from the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy recently and earned his Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification.   

Vanessa Wall, South Georgia Technical College Dean for Homeland Security Academic Programs, who also works with and helped establish the SGTC Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Academy, made the announcement of the Lt. Michael Sangster scholarship recipient during the graduation ceremony.   

"I am 26-years old and I have been through many obstacles and challenges through my life thus far," said O'Neal, when he applied for the scholarship.  "I was searching for a career that would help me become a man of value, dignity, and respect.  I chose Law Enforcement."   

O'Neal admitted that it has not been easy.  "I put my dreams on hold and worked so that my wife could attend college and graduate.  We also have a child, but I did what I had to do to support myself and my family. I have delivered pizza's, worked at Wal-Mart, a lumber company, a correctional facility, and at the county fire department.  I always knew at the end of the day that, I would have my chance at achieving my dreams one day.  My dreams are finally coming true as I prepare to begin my career in law enforcement."   

O'Neal plans to finish his associate's degree in criminal justice next year, then obtain his bachelor's degree.     "In looking forward, I know that we all have dreams and goals that we want to achieve in life.  I am thankful to the Michael Sangster family for this scholarship and for their part in helping me realize my goal," added O'Neal.    

Lt. Michael Sangster was an officer with the Crisp County Sheriff's Office and served as a volunteer instructor for the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy from the inception of the program.  He lost his battle with cancer and passed away in 2013 at the age of 35.  With the help of LEA students, friends, SGTC faculty and staff, and Lou Couch, the Sangster family was able to endow a scholarship in his memory for SGTC LEA students.   

Michael Sangster of Cordele held numerous P.O.S.T. certifications, including General Instructor, Firearms Instructor, Defensive Tactics Instructor, TASER Instructor, and Driver Instructor.    "Lt. Michael Sangster set a tremendous standard for others to follow and I hope that you will remember the type of man and officer that Michael Sangster was and that you will honor his memory throughout your career," said Wall as she presented O'Neal with the scholarship award.    

Lt. Sangster was born in Dooly County but spent most of his life in Cordele. He was the son of Robert Sangster, Sr. and Connie Sangster.  He has a sister, Melissa Sangster and a son, Caleb.    

"On behalf of South Georgia Technical College and the South Georgia Technical College Foundation, I would like to thank the Sangster family, Lou Crouch and the other individuals who donated to this particular scholarship for partnering with us," said South Georgia Technical College President Sparky Reeves.  "We are excited about the opportunities that this scholarship is providing for our deserving Law Enforcement Academy students.   Your investment in an endowed scholarship will continue to give back to our students indefinitely. 

We appreciate what all of you are doing for our students and our community.  Thank you again for recognizing the value of the educational opportunities and for supporting this effort.  The students you help today will be the public servants that we count on tomorrow in our local communities."   

Anyone interested in donating to the Lt. Michael Sangster LEA Scholarship at South Georgia Technical College may designate donations to the SGTC Foundation to that fund.   

For more information about making a donation to the SGTC Foundation or endowing a scholarship at South Georgia Technical College, contact Su Ann Bird, SGTC Foundation Executive Director at 229.931.2110 or sbird@southgatech.edu

Contributions may also be mailed to the SGTC Foundation, P.O. Box 6102, Americus, GA.


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