When Morgan McCane hears her name called during ASU’s virtual commencement on May 1, she will know that she has a unique place among her fellow graduates.

“I will be the only 19-year-old senior to graduate at Alabama State University’s virtual commencement next week (May 1),” McCane said. “I also will graduate with two degrees -- a bachelor’s from ASU and an associate degree from Bishop State.”

McCane is admittedly proud of her accomplishments now, but she says attending college was not in her plans at first because of poor grades.

But during high school, McCane in the dual enrollment program at Bishop State Community College and earned both her high school and associate degrees at the age of 17.

Now, at 19, she also has earned her bachelor’s degree from Alabama State University.

Dual enrollment programs give students a unique opportunity to earn college credits while also earning their high school diploma.

Her academic journey took her from her classes at Citronelle High School to dual enrollment at Bishop State Community College and then on to Alabama State University on a scholarship.

McCane emphasized that dual enrollment played a crucial role in her academic journey.

“When I was in middle school I thought I would never attend college because of my grades. I didn’t think I would make it to college or finish high school.” McCane said. “When I was transitioning from 8th to 9th grade, my mom told me about dual enrollment. That was a game-changer.”

McCane said dual enrollment was tough, but she worked hard in her first three years of high school, allowing her to take general education classes required for her associate's degree.

“I had to develop new study habits, change my mindset, and limit going out with friends. I had to go from not trying at all to having to try twice as hard,” McCane said. “When I got my first ‘B’ in math in college and an ‘A’ in math in school I thought wow, I could do this. I developed a passion for education. I would go to high school in the morning and take college courses in the evening and sometimes on weekends.”

By the time McCane graduated from high school in 2018, she had compiled 60 hours of college credits or the equivalent of approximately two years of college.

With her proven academic prowess, she received a scholarship to attend Alabama State University the year she graduated from high school.

“I was glad to come to ASU with the advantage of having my General Education classes completed and being able to get right into the classes that most interested me,” she said. “The University treated me as a transfer student and not like a student coming straight from high school. So I was awarded a transfer scholarship. That’s what I love about ASU.”

The Axis, Ala., native comes from a long line of Hornet graduates.

“All my family attended ASU – my mom, my grandmother and her sisters and brothers, my uncle, aunt, and cousins are all ASU alums. I have five cousins attending the University right now,” she said. “It’s a generational thing.”

McCane said while she is disappointed that she won’t be able to participate in a formal commencement on May 1 because of the Coronavirus pandemic, she appreciates that the University is holding a virtual commencement.

“I told my mom when ASU schedules the in-person commencement, I plan to walk across that stage even if I have to buy my own plane ticket to come back,” she said. “It’s good to know that there is a possibility it will still happen.”

After the virtual commencement, McCane will travel to Virginia to start her new career in Contracts and Pricing at Newport News Ship Building, a company in the U.S. that builds ships for the Navy. “I will be negotiating a lot of deals.”

McCane has some advice for those who are thinking about or already in a dual enrollment program.

“Keep trying. Your life can take a turn for the better. Mine did,” McCane said. “And if you are as young as I am when you graduate from college, remember you will be a little scared to step into adulthood so young; but if you make a plan and stick to it, you will succeed.”

Bishop State was established in 1927 as the Mobile Branch of Alabama State College which is now known as Alabama State University. Click this link to learn more about Bishop State's dual enrollment program.

Written by: Hazel Scott/Alabama State University

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