LEXINGTON, Mo. -- A student getting a few college credit hours while still in high school is pretty common these days. But the FOX 4 Reaching 4 Excellence young achiever of the week has done the uncommon when it comes to that. She earned two college degrees while she was in high school, accomplishing something very rare in higher education.
Six-year-old Jaxon Osborn has been working over the summer on academics and on some lingering birth-related speech and language challenges. Morgan Weedman is tutoring him. As part of a high school program to prepare future educators, Morgan was Jaxon’s cadet teacher and tutor for kindergarten. And although she recently decided to switch career tracks away from speech-language pathology to criminal justice, Morgan still gets a lot of satisfaction from continuing to teach Jaxson.
“The best part is whenever you know he gets it,” said Morgan, the FOX 4 Reaching 4 Excellence Young Achiever of the Week. “It takes a while sometimes but in that moment he’s like, ‘Oh, I understand that!’ That’s the best part. You know you’ve made an impact.”
Morgan decided to make an impact on her own future and get a jump start on college as a junior at Wellington Napoleon High School in Wellington, Mo. She took dual credit courses through nearby Wentworth College in Lexington.
“Because dual credit is cheaper and it was a good idea,” said Morgan. Then Morgan also began taking actual college classes at Wentworth at night, on weekends and during the summer. She was, essentially, a full-time college student and a full-time high school student at the same time.
“And so I kept taking classes and kept taking classes,” said Morgan. By the time she was done with that, Morgan had racked up an astonishing 67 college credit hours, enough to earn two college associate degrees, one in arts and one in science.
“So originally it was never planned,” said Morgan. “About half way through, I realized it could be done.” And on the same weekend in May, Morgan got her high school diploma and graduated from Wentworth College with two degrees. She even got special individual recognition during the Wentworth graduation ceremony.
“To think about someone else doing that, I’m like, ‘Wow!’ said Morgan. “It doesn’t seem real that I could do that.”
“That is a rare, exceptional accomplishment for any student,” said Robert Cordell, Wentworth College Dual Enrollment Coordinator. Cordell advised Morgan as she got her two college degrees while still in high school, something Cordell said has never happened before at Wentworth and is very rare in all of higher education in America.
“This illustrates Morgan’s hard work, her character, her dedication,” said Cordell. “And you can see her educational goal-setting that she uses. She’s driven. She’s focused. She’s a very hard-working young lady. She will have endless opportunities and potential in her career.”
It’s not like Morgan had nothing else to do as she pursued her two college degrees at Wentworth. She was very busy and involved at Wellington Napoleon High School with a jam-packed schedule of demanding classes, activities, student leadership, community service and year-round sports.
“When I look back, I don’t know how I did everything,” said Morgan.
What’s more, Morgan also worked part time jobs at two out-of-town restaurants much of the time she was taking her college courses, usually 25 hours a week and often a lot more. She missed a lot of social time with friends and many school events to get it done but Morgan said it was all worth it.
“It was difficult to be a high school student and a college student at once,” admits Morgan. “And sometimes I wish I would have been able to go to all the football games. But when I compare the two, a football game or two associate degrees, the two associate degrees are always going to win.” Count of Morgan to always be a winner, too.
Morgan will start her criminal justice studies at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg in a few weeks. She figures she’s so far ahead she’ll be able to get a bachelor’s degree or two and maybe even a master’s in just a couple of years there.
FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Wednesday on FOX 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on FOX 4 News at 8 a.m. and noon.