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All in the Family: Chattahoochee Tech Parents and Children Complete College Together

Three men and two women in two separate photos

Two families with recent Chattahoochee Tech graduates have enjoyed double reasons to celebrate because the parents earned degrees along with their children.

Barbara McCarthy, of Cobb County, graduated in December with her two sons, Garrett and Patrick McCarthy. She and Garrett both earned associate degrees in drafting technology. Her son Patrick earned an associate degree in computer programming. Another Cobb County family included recent graduates Emory Morris and his son, Ethan Morris. They both earned associate degrees in cybersecurity.

What was it like for these parents to graduate from college together with their children? “Being able to graduate with my boys was absolutely amazing. What a great memory!” said Barbara McCarthy. “This was such a unique opportunity to share a major accomplishment with them.”

Emory Morris echoed that sentiment with respect to having attended college classes with his son. “I honestly think it was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had,” said Morris. “We were able to encourage each other since we took a lot of the same classes together. It created accountability for us both.” But having a parent and child attend college classes together as students is not a routine occurrence. “The looks on some of the instructors’ faces were priceless when they discovered we were father and son,” said Morris.

For both Emory Morris and Barbara McCarthy, the decision to attend Chattahoochee Tech was an opportunity for them to maximize their workforce skills. McCarthy had worked in the software development industry for over 25 years after earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Youngstown State University. As she watched her son Garrett take drafting classes at Chattahoochee Tech, she decided to follow in his footsteps and pursue a second career.

“He was really enjoying his classes, and the software he was working with was so fascinating,” said McCarthy. “The more Garrett did, the more I wanted to learn what he was learning.” Now, with her new college degree in drafting, she already is enjoying a new career as a Revit/BIM (Building Information Modeling) engineer with Automotive Development Group. She noted that Garrett has been successful in putting his drafting degree to work through some contracting work, and Patrick is now pursuing a four-year degree in computer programming.

Emory Morris serves as development director for the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA), where his responsibilities include managing a team of software developers as well as managing the portal team’s security posture. His decision as an established professional to earn a degree in cybersecurity at Chattahoochee Tech was grounded in the desire to keep his skills current and remain at the top of his game. “You never stop learning in IT (Information Technology), so it is important to choose a school that will provide the training and knowledge necessary for the job market,” said Morris. “This is where Chattahoochee Tech excels.” He noted that his son, Ethan, is now building on his education by pursuing certifications in network security and cloud-based technologies.

“Additionally, anyone considering Chattahoochee Tech should know that the school and instructors really do care for their students,” said Morris, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer during his final semester of school. “I worked with disability services and my instructors while recovering from surgery. I stayed on target with my classes, enabling Ethan and me to keep our graduation plans together intact.”

Shown l-r are father and son graduates, Emory Morris and Ethan Morris.
Recent Chattahoochee Tech graduates included a father and son, Emory and Ethan Morris. They are shown here, l-r, at the college’s December 2020 drive-thru graduation ceremony. 
Shown here, l-r, are Garrett, Barbara, and Patrick McCarthy, along with Chattahoochee Tech President Dr. Ron Newcomb.
Chattahoochee Tech graduate Barbara McCarthy participated in the college’s December 2020 drive-thru graduation ceremony with her two sons. Shown here, l-r, are Chattahoochee Tech graduates Garrett, Barbara, and Patrick McCarthy, along with Chattahoochee Tech President Dr. Ron Newcomb.