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East Georgia State student to graduate high school, college simultaneously

From starting the academic school year as a junior in high school to soon graduating from high school and college, Mary Grace Winfrey has pushed herself to the max when it comes to her academics.

Winfrey, now a senior at Johnson County High School and a sophomore at East Georgia State College, made it her goal at a young age to graduate from both college and high school at the same time.

“I was first interested in dual enrollment as a middle schooler. I was watching the news one night, and I saw a story about a girl who was able to earn her associate degree just before she graduated high school. I was really impressed by this, so I made it my personal goal to do the same,” Winfrey said.

She had no idea that startingdual enrollment as a freshman in high school would impact her graduating early. She started taking college courses so she could save money and get as many classes out of the way as possible.

“I was certainly nervous when I was first faced with the decision of skipping a grade. My two options were to skip my junior year of high school or take only elective courses my senior year. We were already one month into the school year, so I had to make the decision quickly. I was eager to further my education in college, so I decided to graduate early.”

Winfrey’s decision made her feel as if she was growing up too fast, but after a lot of thought and prayer, she knew she made the right choice.

“Being a senior now rather than a junior is both bittersweet and exciting. I have grown up with my high school’s junior class, and I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a little sad leaving them.”

Throughout her time as a dual enrollment student and being faced with difficult decisions, Winfrey has always had support both at home and at East Georgia State College.

“I will return to East Georgia in the fall to take more English courses. I hope to transfer to Georgia Southern University to earn my bachelor’s degree and later get my master’s degree. I plan on becoming an English professor,” Winfrey said.

Although her time as a dual enrollment student is slowly coming to an end, she encourages others to participate in the program.

“Do not let others discourage you. Although it may not be for everyone, dual enrollment can be beneficial. You don’t have to take the path that all your peers take. One of the things I love most about dual enrollment is the individuality of it. I recommend dual enrollment to any student who thinks they are ready for it, and there has not been a single day that I have regretted my decision to participate in dual enrollment.”

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