Provided below is the text from copies of the two project leaders’ notes to the Deal’s. Information pertaining to their identities and likeness has been redacted due to Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) policies.
Project Leader No. 1: Honestly, until now I never knew that Nathan Deal had any part of this class, but after finding out, I looked back during my time in the basic and advanced classes, and I believe that this class has given me a skill that will be the “saving grace” of my life; I’ve always wanted to learn how to weld and now that I possess these skills I can use them to integrate back into society without fear of, ‘What am I going to do for a job?’, on my mind. I love this class, and I don’t know if I could thank everyone involved enough for helping better myself…thank you. The rose idea was just a regular project at first, (not for anyone), but to show us that we can still succeed and provide for ourselves and our families, we thought that by me being an artist this would be easier for me than other (projects) because I have the “eye” for art work. When I was told this was going to the governor, I was almost done, but I went into PANIC mode and took it apart 2 or 3 times until it was right. Once I finished, it felt like I completed a marathon. Building this rose really brought out the OCD in me, and I hope it shows. For me to be picked to make something for the governor really stopped me in my tracks, because this man gave me the opportunity to be a better person, and I thought it would never equal what he has given me. I am very honored and thankful for everything.
Project Leader No. 2: At the beginning of the project, all I knew was that the rose was going to be part of my final grade. My thoughts were, I’m going to do my best and come up with a beautiful piece. Once Mr. Hill told me that my rose was going to the governor’s wife, I freaked out. After taking a few minutes to think about it, I changed my whole plan. Now, I had to make something that I thought was outside my capabilities. I wanted to impress the First Lady!!! While making the rose, I ran into some problems, bumps, and heartbreak. Things just were not going as I thought they should. After seeking help from Mr. Hill, the project got back on track. I had to have everything “perfect.” I welded, grinded, and welded some more. Finally, the rose was done!! For me and my skill level it was a masterpiece. Thanks to Mr. Hill and the instructions that he gave me, I was able to finish the rose and bracelet on time. I learned that if I just listen and learn, then use that information, I can make it through anything. When I learned about the welding program that Mr. Deal put in place, I thought that it would be a class/learning experience that would give me opportunities once I got out of prison. It was my intention to learn what I could and then build on it. I found a skill that I’m good at and now have a passion for. Without this welding program I may have never known that I had a passion for welding. My plans for the future include what I have learned here in the CGTC class. Thank you, Mr. Deal for believing in us and making opportunities available to us.