Former ACCEL Student Elected President of UGA Student Alumni Council
May 8, 2013 - The ACCEL program at Southeastern Technical College promises a fast track to graduation and a leg-up on others in the college admission process, but those claims might actually be modest, as the newly elected president of the University of Georgia’s Student Alumni Council (SAC) can attest.
Derek Hammock, of Vidalia, will serve as the president of UGA’s SAC for the 2013-2014 school year, an achievement that marks a high point in a collegiate career that began at Southeastern Tech.
“My relationship with STC began through Barry Dotson, who I consider a great friend and mentor,” said Hammock, of the vice president of student affairs. “He encouraged me to take ACCEL classes my senior year of high school.”
ACCEL classes allow high school seniors to take degree-level academic courses while still enrolled in high school. The students earn hours towards both their high school diploma and a college degree. Unsurprisingly, ACCEL students face the most rigorous entrance requirements of STC’s high school initiatives.
“While we try to emphasize to students participating in the ACCEL program that they are taking degree level courses, we also recognize that these are still high school seniors who may not have fully made that mental transition”, said Dotson. “Our ACCEL instructors understand they are dealing with high school seniors, and they do an incredible job of turning them into college students.”
Hammock took four ACCEL classes: College Algebra, Pre-Calculus, English 1101 and English 1102.
“Each class was great and the professors were even better,” said Hammock. “It was great getting to know Dr. [Bee] Hart, Mr. [Jimmy] Dupree, and Ms. [Charlotte] Mathews. I'll always remember the days in class with them because of their passion for their subjects and willingness to help us. They definitely helped prepare me for UGA.”
By mid-May 2011, Hammock had finished his ACCEL classes, and three months later, he moved to Athens. He quickly discovered just how much of a head start he had from those STC classes.
“I came into UGA with 14 credit hours as a freshman,” said Hammock. “That put me ahead of most of my peers and will continue to give me a ‘leg up’ on registering for classes and other things just because I came in with those 14 hours.”
Hammock hit the ground running at UGA. The junior has made the Dean’s List every semester, joined the SAC and UGA Alumni Association Strategic Planning Committee, and become the Leonard Leadership Scholar in the Institute for Leadership Advancement within the Terry College of Business, the SAC 2012-2013 Member of the Year and the G Book Coordinator within the SAC. And he has a 3.9 GPA.
The flurry of activities only spurred him to do more—Hammock decided to run for president of the SAC. Driven by the UGA community he’d embraced wholeheartedly since his arrival, Hammock won the election in early April and was named president on May 1. Now an Athenian through and through, Hammock still understands the value of all he did in Vidalia.
“I believe that everything I have been involved with, participated in, and experienced has contributed to me now being president of SAC,” said Hammock. “Each experience, each relationship, and each day has put me where I am now: with confidence, eager to lead this group to the next level to make a bigger impact on the university.”
Registration for ACCEL courses for the next academic year is currently in process. For more information on the ACCEL program, visit www.southeasterntech.edu, call 912-538-3100 or 478-289-2200 or contact your high school counselor.