The First Step – EC Student Spotlight on Alyssa Womack and Morgan Roach

by Ashley Westbrook

In second grade, best friends Alyssa Womack and Morgan Roach dreamed of graduating from Emmanuel College together. On May 4, 2019 – their dream became a reality as they both walked across the stage at the John W. Swails Center to receive their associate’s degree. What makes their story unique? Both Morgan and Alyssa completed their 2-year degree at Emmanuel through the college’s Dual Enrollment program before receiving their high school diploma from Franklin County High School.

Why choose to go this route?

“For me, I grew up at this college,” Morgan said of Emmanuel. “It already felt like home to me.”

For Alyssa, the decision to dual enroll at Emmanuel was something she had always thought of, however, while in middle school, her family moved to West Central, Ga. returning to Franklin Springs before the start of her junior year.

“My brother dual enrolled when he was in high school and completed a year and a half of college,” she said. “I knew it was something I wanted to do, and with Morgan being my closest friend when I came back here, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me.”

Alyssa, who plans to take some time off before enrolling at Columbus Leadership Campus, a part of Point University, believes the transition will go smoothly because of the experience she gained through the dual enrollment program.

“I’ve already learned certain techniques that I’ll need in college,” she said. “My time management skills have gotten so much better because they’ve had to when taking college classes. I’ve already partially made that step.”

Morgan, who will be completing her four-year degree at Emmanuel, hopes to become more involved on campus.

“I’m going to participate more than I did while in the dual enrollment program,” she said. “I am a part of the Commuter Council now, am applying for Work Study positions, and have been asked to be an English tutor in the Academic Resource Center.”

While at Emmanuel, there have been several faculty members that have made an impact on both Morgan and Alyssa.

“For me, Dr. Sara Petrovic is one,” Morgan said. “She has been helpful in helping me grow and fuel my interest in English. Listening to her teach, you can tell that she loves what she does, and it makes you love the class. Kyle and Stephanie Garrett, I grew up with them and they have helped me fuel the creative writing aspect of my learning. Ms. Andrea Reganato, she has a way to teaching science that I click with and made me want to pursue a minor in psychology.”

“Ms. Reganato’s General Psychology class is what made me look into majoring in Psychology,” Alyssa remembers. “I’ve always had a fascination with the mind and how it works, but it wasn’t something I was looking into as a major until I had her class. Mr. (Kirk) McConnell also made an impact, he’s interactive in the way he teaches. He grades difficultly but reasonably, which helped me manage my time better. It helped me really work and put in the effort that my work deserves.”

If Morgan could describe the dual enrollment program, she would call it a stepping stone and encourages other high school students interested to take the next step.

“I’ve met so many people at Emmanuel who take education seriously,” she said. “The students are here because they want to be, you can sit in a class and learn. The dual enrollment program helps you transition between high school and college. Instead of learning the ropes quickly and being confused, you can come in with a few classes already under your belt.”

For Alyssa, the community atmosphere at Emmanuel is what drew her to campus.

“When I was younger we lived right behind campus,” Alyssa remembers. “My parents held a small group every Sunday at the house and from that time, from a young age I got to see the community that Emmanuel fostered. I’ve met so many people and have made so many relationships that will be forever lasting. It’s an experience you couldn’t trade for the world.”

That same community atmosphere is what would deter Alyssa from completing a dual enrollment program online.

“It would completely eliminate the community aspect of the program and that’s such an important part of the experience,” she said. “We’re created to desire community. When you take that away, you may still get the education but you’re missing out on the relationships you build.”

In second grade, Alyssa and Morgan dreamed of graduating from Emmanuel College together. On May 4th, that dream became a reality because of Emmanuel’s dual enrollment program. As they move forward, they do so confidently because they took the first step.