Double whammy: graduating high school and college

May 26, 2019

Cora Lee Morin has never considered herself good at school, but this June she will be graduating from Phoenix Charter School with her diploma and from Umpqua Community College with her associates degree.

“I’m somebody who isn’t actually very good at school, which seems weird saying when I am going to get an associates and diploma,” said Morin.

In elementary school, Morin struggled. When teachers saw her have trouble with reading or math, they pulled her into a separate class. She remembers a time in fourth grade when she could not go past multiples of threes on the times table test.

“I didn’t feel very adequate for a long time and then I did online school for part of middle school and that really taught me to know that I am good,” said Morin. “As long as I work hard, I can get good grades and achieve things.”

With the support of teachers at the online school. Morin went from a D student to an A student. It was a teacher from that online program that first pointed out to Morin that she could get an associates degree. First, Morin decided that she wanted to return to a school atmosphere with more people and more hands on learning. Phoenix presented her the opportunity for both.

She was a sophomore when she finally decided to take a class at UCC. A botany course at Phoenix inspired her take continue into a botany class at UCC.

“That was my first college class, it kinda kicked things off,” said Morin. “I was like, hey, these are pretty neat and I like this UCC thing and so I started early college the next year.”

Along with attending high school, Morin has taken three to five courses every term since. She will graduate with 92 college credits. She also works at the YMCA around 25 hours a week.

“I’m not someone who stops after they start, I just keep going and that’s kinda what happened, I just kept going,” she said.

Morin credits a large support group as key to much of her success. She says the teachers, staff and friends she has at Phoenix, the teachers at UCC and her bosses and coworkers at the YMCA have all helped her.

“It’s weird to say how to balance it ’cause to me it’s just like you get up and you do it,” said Morin. “Because I’ve had people to support me, I’m able to do that. Not everybody has that support that I’ve been given in life and I acknowledge that.”

While botany might have been what first had her enrolling at the college, Morin doesn’t currently have a specific field of study. She does plan on transferring to Southern Oregon University for a business degree. Her work in the membership department at the YMCA has sparked a love of customer service, though she is also drawn to other aspects of business.

“I am very interested in business and I think it’s a very versatile thing. I’m interested in all the different specializations like accounting, management, hospitality and marketing,” she said. “All those interest me in some way and so I figured I might as well study something interesting to me and that I feel is really useful to what I am interested in.”

Morin doesn’t know what exactly she will do with her business degree, though owning her own restaurant or coffee shop quickly sprang to mind. She says that no matter what she does in life, her goal is to be happy.

“That’s kind of what my senior quote is, it’s ‘I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up but all I knew is that I wanted to be happy.’”

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