Student graduates high school and college within same month
Photo by Edy Aguilar
Fort Payne High School senior Mark McGullion will be graduating this May from high school, as well as from Northeast Alabama Community College through the college’s dual enrollment program.
The dual enrollment program allows high school students to begin their college courses while still in high school. Dual enrollment allows students to receive both high school and college credit for a college course taught at the high school, online, or on the NACC campus during the fall, spring, or summer term.
“Dual enrollment is an extremely beneficial program that gives high school students a head start on college and their careers,” said NACC President David Campbell. “The college recognizes the positive impact of this program and continues to expand and support dual enrollment with our area high schools.”
McGullion has earned 74 credit hours by taking dual enrollment classes with NACC. He began his college career the fall semester of his sophomore year back in 2016. This kind of achievement is exceptional in our region. McGullion said he has maintained a motivated state of mind over the years.
“I like to challenge myself. I don’t think you can really know your limitations until you push yourself to them,” McGullion said. “I think it’s important for people to do that. I’m young so I’m still figuring out my limitations and seeing what I can achieve.”
McGullion said he wanted future students to know that they can achieve their goals.
“The most important thing I can say to students who are thinking about taking dual enrollment is to not psych yourself out,” he said. “Just like I was, you are more capable than what you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can do.
“That’s why it’s important to push your limits and you won’t know your limits until you push yourself towards them. I can promise you for nearly everyone, your limits are a lot further than you think they are.”
Following both of his graduations this May, McGullion will attend the University of North Alabama on a scholarship in the fall where he will be studying finance, as well as pre-optometry.
McGullion said he hopes to transfer to either the University of Alabama in Birmingham or South College of Optometry. He said his vision is to one day take over Rainsville Eye Clinic.
“We are tremendously grateful for our connection with NACC through the dual enrollment program,” said Fort Payne High School Principal Brian Jett. “This has allowed many of our students to get a head start in their educational career. John Mark is an ideal example of the possibilities.”
Most of McGullion’s dual enrollment experience has been on the NACC campus. McGullion said all his interactions with his instructors at NACC have been both enjoyable and beneficial.
“The NACC instructors off or on campus are attentive to the student’s needs and I think that really offers a unique educational experience to help students grow,” McGullion said.
McGullion has accumulated multiple achievements and honors through dual enrollment. While in high school, he was awarded a state-level award called the All Star Cast Award at the Trumbauer Festival. While at NACC, he has been on the Dean’s List as well as the President’s List several times. He’s been inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, Mu Alpha Theta, and Sigma Kappa Delta honor societies. Also, he has been involved with NACC Theatre and has received the Outstanding Achievement in the Dramatic Arts Award. He has been cast a role in NACC’s upcoming production: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast the Broadway Musical.
Mark Webb, Director of NACC Theatre, said McGullion has taken the initiative to challenge himself.
“John Mark is a very driven young man,” Webb said. “He started young in the theatre and was given some extremely challenging roles at a very young age but stepped up to the plate and delivered. I am proud of his accomplishments and look forward to seeing what the future holds for this talented young man.”
McGullion’s achievements are examples of what hard work and dedication can result in. He has been accepted into UNA’s Honors College Program. According to the UNA website, the mission of the Honors College is to provide exceptional students a transformative educational experience that leads to postgraduate success.
McGullion said he had an unwavering support system in his family.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support from my family and friends,” he said. “I’d like to thank my fiancé, Holly Elmore. She was supportive of me and helped me study and has been patient with me. My parents especially my dad; I’ve always looked up to him. Throughout my life, he has taught me to work hard and to push myself.”
For additional information, go to www.nacc.edu
811 Greenhill Blvd. NW
Fort Payne, AL 35967