EC Alumnus Michal Oberg (’11) will tell you that when he first came to Emmanuel, it wasn’t for the right reason.
Michael enrolled elsewhere before transferring to Emmanuel College to play baseball. Starting off as a Pre-Law major, it was an “Adolescent Literature” class taught by Ms. Barbara Goodwin during his junior year at EC that put the idea in Michael’s head that he could go into teaching/coaching.
Michael had it all figured out, but a death in his family caused him to leave Emmanuel before he could complete his degree.
“I attended from 2005-2009 but actually took a year off, we had a death in the family and I came back home,” Michael said. “I anticipated that I would graduate from somewhere else, but I really wanted to complete my degree at Emmanuel. I came home and took classes at Macon State until everything at home was settled and then went back to Emmanuel.”
Michael graduated from Emmanuel’s School of Education in 2011. Currently, he is in his sixth year at Lamar County High School where he serves as the Chair of the English Department, the school system’s Athletic Director, and coaches Baseball and Cross Country.
His dedication to his students and players has not gone unnoticed, as Michael has been awarded the School and County’s Teacher of the Year Award and the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year three times.
“I was shocked when I was named the School’s Teacher of the Year,” Michael said. “I was in my third year of teaching and it was an honor to be recognized by the other 45 teachers. I guess most coaches aren’t known for being classroom teachers so it really affirmed that I’m doing the right thing.”
Today, Michael thanks his Emmanuel College professors, especially Dr. Vicki Hollinshead for preparing him for the success he’s had.
“I talk to Dr. Hollinshead a lot about how thankful I am to Emmanuel’s School of Education,” Michael said. “I spent so many hours gaining hands-on experience in the classroom while at Emmanuel. With our last practicum being in a school building every day, all day and the practicum before that being there for four hours a day, it was almost as if I had already taught for a year before stepping into my own classroom.”
At Emmanuel, Michael believes he not only was prepared for success but met several faculty and staff members that have impacted his life.
“When I came to Emmanuel I wasn’t focused on school, instead I focused on baseball and Dr. Hollinshead never gave up on me,” Michael said. “My last year at EC I received the “Most Outstanding Student in English and Education” award, and I probably wouldn’t have gotten that far without her and Ms. Goodwin. They always encouraged me.”
Michael may not have come to Emmanuel for Emmanuel, but he left with a different perspective.
“I had the opportunity to play baseball there and essentially grow up there in the church,” Michael said. “Even now, I’m always encouraging my players, I’m always calling Coach (Jeff) Kilgore trying to get players to visit because the best thing that ever happened to me was the five and a half years I spent at Emmanuel.”