Recent Z-R grad earned two degrees from Rend Lake College as well

by Steve Dunford 

Around the time of most high school graduations, I posted a press release from Rend Lake college.  The story highlighted one Christopher students and two Thompsonville students who were earning their Associate’s Degrees from Rend Lake College simultaneously graduating from high school.

Allanna Garrison

I was then made aware of the accomplishments of Allanna Garrison, who recently graduated from Zeigler-Royalton High School and earned two degrees from Rend Lake College. She is the first Z-R graduate to accomplish this.

She was the Salutatorian of her Senior Class, and graduated with high honors from RLC, earning over 70 credit hours.

I have swapped texts with her the last few days, and we talked about the journey of this incredible accomplishment.

She will be attending Southern Illinois University in the fall, majoring in nursing.  She will also participate in the Army ROTC program as well.  She works in the medical field now, as a CNA at Parkway Manor in Marion.

Along with being a high school student, and carrying a college workload as well, Allanna was active in her very recent high school days in the following:  Drama Club, Math club, SHARP Club Secretary, Class Secretary, WYSE team, and Math Field Day. I am also part of the National Society of Leadership and Success.

She also likes to listen to music, play the guitar, and likes the outdoors.

I asked her who had the biggest influence on her to accomplish such an awesome feat.  She said, “My parents are my biggest influence. I was raised to always do the best you can in school and that is what I always did. They pushed me to be better and get to where I am today.”

“Another influence was my guidance counselor, Jim Chamness. He helped me learn about the duel credit classes and that is what really helped me the most. I have him to thank for me graduating from RLC.”

She told me that she started taking online classes her sophomore year.  She was enrolled at Rend Lake for two summers, and took night, dual credit, and online classes throughout the rest of her high school days.  Between the three, there were periods in which she was enrolled in six or seven college classes.

Allanna discussed the fall semester of her recently finished senior year.  She said she would be at school all day, head to RLC to take classes, then around 10:00 p.m. would start on her homework.   She told me she gave up athletics, and did not have much of a social life during this time.

In a personal note, I am blown away by her accomplishments after taking with her.  This young lady will go very far in life.





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