(Dalton, Georgia) – For someone who doesn’t have much time for himself, 18-year-old Jonathan Cochran is definitely ahead of schedule for your average teenager.
In an age which many are experiencing their adult life for the first time, perhaps taking a first job or signing up for a few college courses, Cochran is just over a month away from earning his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Georgia Northwestern Technical College.
Of course, that’s a fine accomplishment for a young adult. However, coupled with the fact he just graduated from high school six months ago, it’s downright incredible!
Born on Valentine’s Day in 1997, this Northwest Georgia native first fell in love with the idea of being a physical therapist. “I heard it was a career choice that would pay well,” said Cochran. “However, as I got older, I learned quickly it’s not always about the money. I want a career that I will love and have a true passion for.”
So, to get a jump start on life, Cochran enrolled in dual enrollment courses at Southeast Whitfield High School during his junior and senior years. He would earn credit towards his high school diploma and his Associate Degree from Georgia Northwestern, simultaneously. “I’ve even completed my internship already through the Dalton State (GA) Public Safety Office,” said Cochran.
The son of a mechanic and a property manager in Northwest Georgia, Cochran graduated from the ranks of the Raiders at Southeast Whitfield on May 26. Now a Bobcat, he’ll graduate from Georgia Northwestern Technical College on December 10.
“I wanted to be in law enforcement for a very long time,” mentioned Cochran. In the heart of high school football country, Cochran was asked about his extracurricular activities as he made his decision to do dual-enrollment with Georgia Northwestern. “I’ve done nearly 100 hours of ride-along shifts with local law enforcement agencies, if that counts as extracurricular.” Cochran also served as a member of C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team) Academy Team 10.
Now an employee at Dollar General in Dalton, Georgia and a firefighter explorer with the Dalton Fire Department, this future criminal justice pro has big plans. “I intend to work in cyber security for a federal law enforcement agency,” added Cochran. Following his second walk across a graduation stage in six months, he plans on attending Kennesaw State University or Dalton State University for a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science.
Cochran’s parents, David and Meredith, and three brothers, Caleb, Nick, and Chris, all currently live in Dalton, Georgia.
Approximately 14,500 people benefit from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs, making it the largest college in Northwest Georgia and the fifth largest technical college in Georgia. Georgia Northwestern offers classes on-campus or online throughout the year. GNTC serves Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties in Georgia with campuses located in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties.