Austin Community College District (ACC) invites more than 3,000 graduates to walk at its spring 2024 commencement ceremony on Friday, May 17, at the H-E-B Center in Cedar Park.

One of those students is Sapphire Hunter, a student at Manor Early College High School. She will earn her high school diploma and associate degree this spring. 

Learn more about her ACC journey and the support she recieved to complete her degree.

Sapphire’s Journey

Throughout all four years of high school, I have been an active student. I served as a National Honor Society parliamentarian for two years and participated actively in organizations, such as the Coding School and Code2College, engaging in numerous volunteering projects and activities. Furthermore, I have been a four-year varsity cheerleader and a three-time All-American Universal Cheerleaders Association nominee.

What was your favorite part of attending ACC?

Having a sense of independence and the ability to travel within the Highland and Elgin campuses! Feeling like a real college student, spending money at the student culinary mini-cafe, and meeting new people from diverse backgrounds on campus or within my classrooms. 🙂

How does it feel to be graduating?

It feels surreal—a moment worth the late nights and hard work I put myself through for four years! It’s an opening to a new beginning that’s incredibly exciting, filled with new adventures and an abundance of knowledge to come!

How did ECHS help you achieve your goals?

Without the endorsement of ACC’s Early College High School program, the opportunity to study and earn a certification in Application Development-Swift, and discovering my passion as a potential career, finding my niche would not have been possible! Forever grateful.

What would you tell someone considering Early College High School?

Early College High School isn’t the easiest, but it will be the most impactful, allowing you to grow and mature in a way that prepares you for life and the times ahead with resilience! You’ll make unforgettable memories not only on your high school campus but also on a real-life college campus, leaving you with nothing but nostalgia when you look back upon finishing! Seize the opportunity and find your true self.

Any faculty you would like to acknowledge?

I would like to acknowledge Meaghan Pike-Dean for not only enhancing my writing skills and preparing me for my future advanced English classes but also for helping me succeed in crafting compelling college admission essays. She made the classroom welcoming, fun, and was extremely supportive of all her students! 

What are your next steps?

Upon graduation, I plan to attend Northwestern University, where I will study Computer Science at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. This summer, I will be a Software Engineer intern at YETI. I aspire to utilize my talents to mentor young girls in the STEM field, progressing from obtaining a bachelor of science to a master’s degree and eventually pursuing a law degree specializing in intellectual property. My goal is to trailblaze as a software or computer engineer and a legal attorney dedicated to protecting users and companies as technology advances. I envision being a part of spaces such as Formula One or prominent companies, contributing my expertise, and making a meaningful impact in these dynamic environments.