My parents’ names are Greg and Lori Wallace. My father graduated from Cold Springs High School 1981 and he is a coal miner at Jim Walter #7. My mother graduated from Dora in 1983 and she received a Masters in Elementary Education at UAB.
She is currently teaching first grade at Memorial Park School in Jasper. My older brother Miles graduated from Curry in 2004 and he is currently a Jasper City Firefighter.
He married Amanda Mason of Curry and they are expecting a baby girl in February. My younger brother Martin graduated from Dora in 2010 and he received his certification in diesel mechanics at Bevill State.
He is currently a diesel mechanic at Waste Pro in Alabaster.
What year did you graduate from Dora?
I graduated from Dora in 2008.
Were there influential teachers, students, or others there?
Definitely. The teachers who had a major impact on me during my time at Dora were Mrs. Skalnik and Coach Wright. My relationships with these two individuals grew after I graduated high school and I am lucky to have them in my life.
When did you know you’d go to college? To the University of Alabama?
I always knew I would attend college at the University of Alabama. I received my acceptance letter from UA during my last semester at Dora High School.
Was that your first choice?
The University of Alabama was my first and only choice.
What did you study at the University?
I received my B.A. in Criminal Justice in May 2012 and I just recently graduated with my M.S. in Criminal Justice this December..
Were you prepared for college life?
I do not think anyone is necessarily prepared for college life and I do not think it is a bad thing. I was not prepared, but I think that is what made my college experience fun. I was a kid when I arrived on campus and I had to grow up.
I had to develop studying habits and learn how to balance my social and academic life. I believe not being fully prepared for college actually helped me.
Did you know what you’d be studying early on or decide on it later?
I began my career at the University of Alabama with the intention of receiving a degree in secondary education. However, shortly after my arrival on campus, I had a change of heart.
I still wanted to assist and educate young people, but I wanted to do it within a different setting. Changing my major to Criminal Justice allowed me to concentrate on young offenders and the challenges within the Juvenile Justice System.
The Crimson Tide did well while you were there? Did you attend any of the National Championship games?
Being a student at UA is special enough, but the recent success by the football team made my time on campus even more special. I made the trip to New Orleans, but I did not attend the game.
Even though I did not attend the game, a few friends and I had a blast cheering for the Tide on Bourbon Street.
Which games stood out in your mind?
I attended many memorable games as a student, but two games tend to stick out in my mind. The first game occurred during my freshman year. When Alabama beat Auburn in 2008 to end the streak, it was very special because it was the first Iron Bowl victory I was able to celebrate since I was in the 6th grade.
The biggest game I attended as a student was the 2012 SEC Championship against Georgia. In my opinion, that was the National Championship game.
What are some of the high points in your college career?
Receiving my undergraduate and graduate degree were definitely high points during my college career, but the highest point was not academically related. On April 27, 2011 my life, along with thousands around the southeast, changed drastically.
I can still vividly remember how I felt as I watched the F4 tornado rip through Tuscaloosa. Even though the storm took lives and destroyed portions of the city, the days following April 27th provided another example that our darkest days are always followed by our finest hours.
The resiliency the city showed will always be something I remember and treasure.
I am currently job hunting, but for the meantime I am tutoring the football players in Criminal Justice at UA.
Have you set life goals that you’d like to share?
I would like to have a career that allows me to work with juveniles because young people are a crucial part of our society and many of them are caught in bad situations.
My goal is to have a career that will allow me to assist troubled youth, and assure them that they can still contribute to society. After working within the juvenile justice system for a while, I plan on returning to school to receive my Ph.D. in Criminal Justice and teaching at the college level.
Do you have any advice for high school students?
A little over five years ago I stood on Horace Roberts’ Field and gave a farewell speech as class president to the Class of 2008. During my speech, I mentioned how the last 13 years went by so fast.
Now sitting here, I cannot help but think about how fast these last five years have blown by.
My advice to high school students is to dream big and to keep those dreams on a dry erase board because you will change your mind 100 times. My last bit of advice is to make sure you always have time for the people who matter the most.
Hug your grandparents and call them every chance you get.
Also, thank your parents for the advice they gave you during your childhood, because as you will learn, they are right about everything.