Between raising four children and working full time, Monica Carrasco didn’t have a lot of time to spare. But she was determined to make it to ACC graduation. In December, Carrasco received her associate degree in business administration, 10 years after she first enrolled.
“It feels exhilarating, finally reaching graduation,” Carrasco says. “I’ve always wanted my degree, and that’s what drove me to keep going.”
Carrasco was one of hundreds of students who crossed the stage at the Frank Erwin Center last month during ACC’s first December commencement ceremony.
Last fall, more than 1,200 ACC students applied to graduate, a 30 percent increase from the year before. Since 2007, the number of graduates has increased nearly 80 percent.
“We’ve seen so much growth at ACC that it just made sense to add a second graduation ceremony,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. “Graduation is such a major milestone, and it was great to have so many students and families celebrate with us.”
During the December commencement, graduating veterans received special recognition, a tradition that began last May. One of those recognized was Miguel Espitia, a veteran and father who is the first in his family to go to college.
“This shows that with determination and perseverance, you can accomplish anything,” says Espitia, whose family watched him cross the stage at commencement. “I’m proud to set an example for my kids and prove that it can be done.”
Carrasco, also the first in her family to attend college, says she couldn’t have crossed the finish line without the support of her family. She now plans to earn her bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin or Texas State University.
“I tell my kids to never give up and to keep working hard in school,” Carrasco says. “I want to be a role model for them. If I can do it, they can do it.”
Check out photos from December’s commencement ceremony on Flickr.
Spring commencement will take place May 9; spring graduation applications are due April 1. For more information and to apply to graduate, visit austincc.edu/graduation.
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