Alyssa DeMarco-Wall got caught with marijuana at age 15. She dropped out of Flagler Palm Coast High School at age 16 and had a baby at 17. It’s the beginning of a story that often seems to end badly, but not this one: DeMarco-Wall got her GED last summer, graduated from police academy this month and now has her eye on a career in law enforcement.
DeMarco-Wall grew up in Pittsburgh and moved with her mother, Christine DeMarco, and her older sister, Brittney Wall, to Palm Coast to be with her ill grandfather.
“One time my sister had a Halloween party,” DeMarco-Wall recalls, as she sits in the tiled living room of the tidy home she rents with roommates. “I was sober, but someone disrespected my sister, and I thought I was a bad girl, and I didn’t let her talk to my sister that way. I’m very overprotective, even though my sister was older.” She laughs about her “bad girl” image now. Her summary of the party: “I handled it.”
DeMarco-Wall’s “overprotective” nature also led her to try to make something of herself. Her son, Nolan Jones, is now 4. He’s a smart little boy who always asks to be excused before leaving the dinner table. And DeMarco-Wall wants to be able to provide for him and not have to rely so much on others.
“Having a kid young — you’re still young yourself,” she said. “You don’t really know what money is. When I had a job, before I got pregnant, I was getting my nails done, getting my friends’ nails done, just spending money like it was nothing. Having a kid, you can’t do that.”
Enter Susan Warner, the program manager for New Beginnings Family Literacy Program, which is managed by Adult and Community Education and the Flagler County School Board. Warner said DeMarco-Wall took classes on parenting and how to prepare children for school.
“I call her Miss Sue,” DeMarco-Wall said. “She always pushed me to stay on the right track. Anything I had a problem with, school or lifewise, she was there for me.”
DeMarco-Wall earned her GED in June 2012. She then decided that her overprotective mentality was well suited for law enforcement.
“I want to protect my community, to get drugs off the street,” she said. “When you’re a mother or a father, you want to protect (your children) and you want them to have safe community. I’ve seen a lot of friends who were abused, so domestic violence is a huge thing for me.”
Thanks in part to the rides provided by her fellow student, Andrew Pearson, DeMarco-Wall graduated from the Basic Law Enforcement Recruit Training, at Daytona State College Feb. 9. She’s taking one final class to prepare for a state exam, and then, it will be time to apply for a job in law enforcement. Eventually, she wants to be a detective.
“This girl struggled throughout, but was able to maintain her path of success!” Warner wrote via email. She also wrote: “Proud doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel. ... I tear up every time I think about it.”