Meet Ally, one of Athens State’s newest faces on campus. Majoring in elementary education with dreams of making a difference in the world, Ally, like many other students, is excited about experiencing everything her college journey brings with it. One thing, however, sets Ally apart from most other students on campus – her age! Ally happens to be one of the youngest students taking classes at Athens State, entering her junior year at age 18.
Heeding advice from her principal, Ally took dual enrollment classes that allowed her to complete her freshman and sophomore years of college while she was in high school, graduating with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. “I immediately saw the value in taking dual enrollment classes,” Ally said. “I knew that I would have to work really hard in order to do it, and it kind of scared me, but I’m glad that I did it in the long run.”
Ally knew at an early age that teaching was her passion, in part due to her teachers at Athens Bible School making such an impact in her life. She wants to be a positive influence for children, showing them that knowledge is power. Ally strives to also be a positive influence to her peers, leading by example. She encourages other students to take advantage of the opportunity presented by dual enrollment classes.
Despite the rigorous schedule, including several homework-filled “all-nighters,” Ally says she still had time to enjoy the full high school experience. “I still had plenty of time with my friends. It’s just a matter of what you prioritize and what you make time for.”
She acknowledges that she didn’t reach her current level of success alone; she says it took a village to help her get where she is today. “My parents are at the top of the list of people who helped me get here because they are so supportive of me. They are so loving, and they want to do what’s best for me always,” Ally said. She also thanked Mr. Adams and Ms. Gayle for taking care of her and trying to do what was best for her. “At one point or another, you’re going to have to grow up and take on your responsibilities. I think that’s just another great part of what dual enrollment helped me with.”
After she finishes her undergraduate degree, Ally plans to continue her education to earn both her master’s and doctorate degrees in education. “I’ve found with many things that have come in my life that you have to work hard in order to do something, to accomplish what you really want, no matter how scary or how hard it may seem to you at that time.” According to Ally, success means “setting a goal, working to the best of your ability, and achieving it.” Her admirable work ethic has no doubt prepared her for success both in and out of the classroom.
Ally received a scholarship from Athens State and began classes this summer, along with completing work-study duties in the Office of Admissions. With two years of her college career already completed, Ally has a significant head start in establishing her career, allowing her to more quickly build knowledge and skills, enter the job market, and achieve the success she desires.